Our starting point is the belief that the world misses out on some of its best potential founders. There’s a dangerous myth that “entrepreneurs are born” and so anyone who could be a great founder will find a way. We don’t think that’s remotely true. The supply of great founders is not fixed.
If founding a company is culturally abnormal where you grow up, you’ll likely be drawn into some other career path (perhaps finance or government, depending on where you live) that allows ambitious people to have high impact.
We think that’s a waste. It’s increasingly obvious that in the 21st century technology entrepreneurship is where the most talented people can maximise their impact.
Entrepreneur First systematically supports exceptional people to build important companies. We’re the place where outliers come together.
EF BOOTSTRAPS AN ECOSYSTEM FROM SCRATCH
If you ask people why there hasn’t been a Google of Europe or Southeast Asia, the answer is usually that Silicon Valley is better at scaling companies. There’s a lot of truth in that, but it’s only a partial answer. Scaling companies is the last segment of the funnel. Silicon Valley’s secret weapon is that it gets the best people to be founders, gets them into the best teams and gets them working on the best ideas. It’s much easier to scale companies if you’re starting with the right ingredients.
If you ask us why there hasn’t been a Google of Europe or Southeast Asia, our answer is different. We’ll tell you it’s because the Mark Zuckerberg of Europe is likely (doing extremely well) at a big hedge fund. And Singapore’s Larry and Sergey got discouraged because their colleagues thought the first version of their idea was crazy.
EF is for people who don’t want to fall into these traps. At EF, it’s normal to start a company and it’s encouraged to have enormous, global-scale ambition.
Most importantly, we’re open to individuals purely on the basis of talent, ambition and skill.
We don’t expect you to already have the right team or the right idea. In fact, we’ve designed everything we do to maximise your odds of finding these. Each of our cohorts represents an extraordinary concentration of brilliant people who want to do something huge. We think it’s the best and most reliable way to find your co-founder. We’ve designed the advice our team gives to nudge you towards the most ambitious and exciting version of what you might build. If you’re good enough to get into EF, you’re too good to waste your time building something small.
A NEW KIND OF INSTITUTION
As I’ve written before, entrepreneurship needs new institutions. At EF, we’re planning for an era where a large proportion of the most ambitious individuals want to start companies. We want to be the iconic institution of this era.
I started my career as a management consultant, so I’m going to permit myself one 2×2 matrix: