EF is the best place in the world to find your co-founder and build a technology startup from scratch. It is a highly charged environment designed to bring people together and help them realise their potential. We pioneered this model, and over the past seven years, we’ve built more startups this way than anyone else.

Our cohorts run every six months in Toronto, with between 50 and 100 people taking part. The programme is full-time as we believe building a successful company requires full-time commitment.

The programme has two stages: Form is where you find a co-founder and develop your idea. Launch is where you get your team funded and begin building your company.



The application form is the first step towards joining EF. It is designed to get an insight into your past achievements and your suitability to found a company on the programme.
You should hear back from us within two weeks, but if you have applied close to a deadline this can take longer. In some cases we may ask you to have a short phone call with us after reviewing your application.

Approximately 30% of applications are invited to interview.




Successful applicants will be invited to interview, where they will meet a member of the EF team. The interview will focus on the individual’s background and Edge.
We will normally be able to confirm whether we are offering you a place on the cohort within two weeks of interview.
1 in 10

Roughly 1 in 10 applicants is offered a place on the programme.


If you have been selected, you will be sent an offer letter and other documents to sign, as well as useful information to absorb before the programme starts.

Programme Kick Off

Everyone joining the cohort comes together beforehand to get an introduction to EF and the programme. It is an intense but fun start, and the opportunity to meet all your potential co-founders for the first time.



The first 14 weeks of the programme focus on finding the right co-founder and supporting you both to develop and refine an ambitious idea. We call this Form, and it’s when we begin our investment by paying each person who joins a monthly stipend.

At EF, we pay you to find your co-founder. During Form, we provide a stipend to help cover some of your living costs. It’s a not a loan and you never have to pay it back.


Form is a unique opportunity designed to fast-track finding your co-founder. By providing a carefully selected pool of other extraordinary individuals, we remove the cost of finding someone as talented, ambitious and committed as you.

Idea Generation

As you build your team, we will support you to develop and refine an idea. Some people join us with a clear sense of what they want to build; others join us while they are still exploring. Either way we help you to find an idea which exploits your own personal competitive advantage – your “Edge”.

End of Team Building

At the end of Week 8 of Form, typically around 80% of the cohort are in a team and begin preparing for Investment Committee and admission to Launch. People who have not found a co-founder at this stage leave the programme.

Investment Committee

At the end of Form, you pitch to our Investment Committee to receive funding and join Launch, the second part of the programme. It’s highly competitive and we don’t fund every team – only those that have the potential to become globally important companies.


If we don’t fund you, we will support you to find the right next step for you. Many people join an EF startup as an early employee or even rejoin a future EF cohort.



Once you join Launch, you will receive the first investment in your company. Over six months you and your co-founder take part in structured training and work with our dedicated advisors to accelerate your growth. The highlight is a region-wide Demo Day, where teams present their companies to hundreds of the world’s best investors. This is followed by several weeks of fundraising office hours, where we bring investors to you, with the goal of raising a seed round that puts you on the path to scale.

At the start of Launch, we make the first investment in your company. We invest C$100,000 in Toronto, plus the stipends already paid, for 10% of your company. This aligns our interests: we only make money if you do.

Experienced Advisors

Each team will work closely with a dedicated Venture Partner. Our VPs are successful entrepreneurs who have already scaled and sold technology companies worth hundreds of millions. They will push you towards growing your business, and advise on product, customers and investment.

Dedicated Representatives

Each startup also has a dedicated member of the EF team who is responsible for making sure you get the full benefit of the resources, networks and experience we offer.


After months of hard work comes Demo Day, where every team pitches to a room of the world’s best investors. EF is uniquely able to bring together hundreds of early stage investors, from across Europe, the US, and Asia. Demo Day kicks off your seed fundraising, and typically EF companies raise more money, on better terms.

Office Hours

The weeks following Demo Day are focused on Investor Office Hours, where we bring the world’s best investors to you in order to streamline the fundraising process. We commit in advance to further backing every team that pitches at Demo Day by investing 15% of your seed round.

That's only the

We will continue to be at your side and advise you on your journey long after your time on the programme itself is over.

Everyone who joins a cohort becomes part of our exclusive, like-minded community.

Our Community


Do I need a team?

Not at all – EF is a Talent Investor which means we invest in you before you have a co-founder or incorporated company. We choose people based on their potential and their desire to make an impact, and our team spends hundreds of hours screening individuals to give you the best shot at finding the right cofounder. If you do have a cofounder or team already we ask that each of you apply individually outlining your team status. We have had success working with pre-formed teams in the past, but EF is designed to be the best place to find a cofounder if you don’t have one.

Do I need an idea?

No – you don’t need an idea to apply to EF. Insights, strong convictions and beliefs about the future are encouraged, though. If you do have an idea, that’s great, but its strength and weaknesses won’t affect how we assess your application. We care most about the size of your ambition. Read more about how we help you develop an idea from your edge here.

Can I apply if I don't have a technical background?

Yes, approximately 20% of our cohort is non-technical. If you don’t come from a technical background but have strong beliefs formed from working in industry we’d welcome an application from you. Some of our most successful companies have been built by co-founders with a combination of technical and domain expertise. Again, we care most about the size of your ambition.

I'm technical without any business experience, can I still apply?

Absolutely – we’re strong believers that technically-skilled individuals can make some of the best founders. The EF team will work with you to help you understand customer development, validate your idea and figure out the go to market strategy. We’ll help you develop core founder skills every step of the way. You can view the backgrounds of some of our technical founder alumni here.