Preparing to apply
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’m non-technical?
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, and I don’t have any business experience in starting a company, 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.
Can I apply if I have raised investment already?
You are still eligible to apply if you have taken a very small amount of investment or been awarded a grant. However, depending on the arrangement, it does sometimes prevent us from being able to invest in your company and therefore prevent us from offering you a place. We deal with these situations on a case-by-case basis and you should email [email protected] for more information.
Can I apply if I already have a team?
Yes, but each co-founder will have to apply as an individual, as we admit people to the programme on an individual basis instead of on their team/idea.
Can I apply directly to Launch?
Potentially, yes. Although Launch is primarily designed to help teams formed at EF to fundraise, we occasionally have some capacity for external teams. This may be a good option for teams that have been working full-time on their idea for 3-6 months, have a clear short and long term vision for the company, have taken little outside investment (0-10%), and can demonstrate some traction in the form of users or customers. If you join Launch, you would receive initial investment from EF, and begin fundraising after the next bi-annual Demo Day.
If Launch is the right fit for you, you would have to complete a Launch Application, which is the first step in the the same investment process that teams formed on EF go through. If you are interested, please contact [email protected]
Please note that EF is likely not a fit at all if: you have already raised significant external investment (>20%), you have been working on your company full-time for more than 6 months, or you are looking to start fundraising within the next 5 months. Such teams are usually at a much later stage than the companies we work with at EF.
Which cohort should I apply to?
We recommend that you apply to the cohort located nearest to you, or where you have an existing connection, as relocation can be difficult, but ultimately it should be determined by what makes the most sense for your business.
Do I have to relocate?
Yes – EF is based in London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangalore, Paris and Berlin (whichever is closest to you). People we select relocate to join us from all over the world. We offer support to help you apply for a visa if required and to help you settle into the regions. There’s no commitment to stay in any of those locations after EF, though most of our alumni do.
Can I work on something else while doing EF or could I do EF part-time?
No. Building a successful company requires full-time commitment from day 1 and is almost impossible to do if you’re simultaneously working on something else. We fund you in order to enable everyone to be able to focus on EF without the need to work elsewhere.
Is there a deadline to apply?
How do I know who’s in my cohort?
Many people considering joining EF attend our invitation-only events. If we make you an offer to join we’ll invite you to a cohort meetup and give you a login to your cohort dashboard loaded with everyone’s searchable profiles. We take cohort composition seriously – every offer is made based on degrees of likelihood that you’ll meet a suitable cofounder.
Can I defer my place at EF?
No – at this point we do not allow deferrals. There are two reasons for this; one is that each cohort is carefully composed based on the backgrounds and skills of the strongest applicants meet during the selection cycle for a cohort – this means we can optimise for strong cofounder combinations. The second is that we believe in urgency and not delaying building the company you believe should exist. You can read more about our thoughts on the opportunity cost involved in not starting now here.