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Preparing to apply

What you need to know before you apply to Entrepreneur First.

More info: Application
Q
Do I need a team?
A

Not at all – Entrepreneur First 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 our programme is designed to be the best place to find a cofounder if you don’t have one.

Q
Do I need an idea?
A

No – you don’t need an idea to apply to Entrepreneur First. 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.

Q
Can I apply if I’m non-technical?
A

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.

Q
I'm technical, and I don’t have any business experience in starting a company, can I still apply?
A

Absolutely – we’re strong believers that technically-skilled individuals can make some of the best founders. The Entrepreneur First 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.

Q
Can I apply if I have raised investment already?
A

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].com for more information.

Q
Can I apply if I already have a team?
A

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.

Q
Which cohort should I apply to?
A

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.

Q
Do I have to relocate?
A

Yes – Entrepreneur First is based in London, Singapore, Toronto, Bangalore, Paris and Berlin (whichever is closest to you). People we select relocate to join us from all over the world. In some locations we can 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 the programme, though most of our alumni do.

Q
I don't have the right to work in any of EF's locations - can I get a visa?
A

If you don’t currently have the right to work in any of the countries we operate in, some of our locations are able to support successful applicants to apply for a visa in order to take part. 

You can find details on the support offered by each location here.

Q
Can I work on something else while doing Entrepreneur First or could I do the programme part-time?
A

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 Entrepreneur First without the need to work elsewhere.

Q
Is there a deadline to apply?
A

Yes – each cohort has a deadline to apply. If you’ve just missed out on the application window contact us at [email protected]

Q
How do I know who’s in my cohort?
A

Many people considering joining Entrepreneur First 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.

Q
Can I defer my place at Entrepreneur First?
A

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.

Working on the programme

How you’ll build your business on our 6-month programme.

More info: How it works
Q
Is there a restriction / preference for what I work on at Entrepreneur First?
A

No – we don’t tell you what to work on or give you ideas. We’ll facilitate team-building and ideation and have several frameworks and tools to help you reach the strongest founder-idea fit. We’re most interested in building companies which are technically defensible and can become globally significant.

Q
How often do I see a Venture Partner (VP)?
A

On our Launch programme you will have a VP check in once a week. Prior to that, on our Form programme you’ll have a check in weekly with someone from the Form team or an Entrepreneur in Residence (EiR). These check ins are a critical part of your development throughout Entrepreneur First.

Q
Who owns my IP?
A

The company you create does. Entrepreneur First does not own any IP that belongs to your company, and does not take a proportion of your profits. If you have further questions about IP or a current project you’re working on please contact us at [email protected]

Q
Do you offer office space?
A

Some of our locations are able to provide co-working spaces with wifi, tea and coffee facilities and event spaces. Please note that due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, these spaces are adhering to local restrictions and will only be open when it is safe to do so.

Q
Does Entrepreneur First focus on any vertical/industry/type of technology?
A

No – we invest based on talent not sector, so we’re technology and sector agnostic. We’re most excited by applications of new and emerging technologies applied to hard or underserved problems.

Q
What happens if I don’t build a company at Entrepreneur First?
A

You will gain invaluable founder experience which will equip you with many transferable skills for whatever you choose to do next. Many of our alumni join existing Entrepreneur First portfolio companies and we help with introductions. Some return to academia, others to industry. We will work with you to help you figure out what the best next steps might look like and support you along the way. Regardless of what you choose to do you will always be part of the Entrepreneur First community – and perhaps even re-apply to join a later cohort, as many have done. There is also no need to give the stipend back – that is yours to keep.

Q
Do I need to stay in London, Singapore, Toronto, Paris, Bangalore or Berlin?
A

No, though many companies choose to stay in these locations. For any company the most important thing is to be close to its customers and sometimes this means relocating to where these customers are. We have companies based in the US, South Africa, Netherlands and China as well as many other locations.

Investment

How financial support and funding works during your time with EF and beyond.

More info: Getting funded
Q
How does financial support during Form work?
A

Entrepreneur First funds you as an individual from Day 1, and if you form a company, we are your first investor.  To start we will pay you £2,000 per month in London / S$5,000 per a month in Singapore/ $2000 USD in Bangalore / €2,000 a month in Berlin or Paris for 3 months during Form. If you leave Entrepreneur First at the end of Form or Launch the stipend is yours to keep.

Q
How does investment during Launch work?
A

If your company is offered a place on Launch we invest £80,000 in London, Paris and Berlin, and S$75,000/US$55,000 in Singapore and Bangalore, in return for a 10% equity stake in your company. We also commit to invest in your seed round where our local fund structures permit – so your future investors know we’re “all in” on you.

Q
Can I use the investment to pay myself?
A

Yes – most cohort members use the pre-seed funding from Entrepreneur First to cover their costs of living.

Other

Q
Will Brexit affect EF’s ability to run its programme?
A

EF has been planning ahead of Brexit to ensure we are in a strong position. We have implemented controls to ensure Brexit will have little to no impact on our programs or on our investment activity in all our sites of operation. We remain committed to all our European and non European sites and to ensuring that top talent will continue to have access to our programmes.

Q
How will EF continue to protect the data of EU citizens after Brexit?
A

Entrepreneur First is committed to protecting your data and puts information security at the forefront of its processes. We have SCCs in place to ensure your data is protected and we have a high standard of data protection across all sites. Occasionally we may need to share your personal data with our sites outside the European Economic Area. We may also allow our third party service providers, some of whom are located outside Europe, access to your personal data. For more information, please see our privacy policy: https://www.joinef.com/privacy-policy/.

Further reading

Take a detailed look at how our programme works, and who we're for