Author Archives: Molly Heath

  1. 4 Tips to Nail an Investor Meeting

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    Six months ago, some of the world’s most exceptional people joined our programme. This week, those who have since met their co-founder and launched a company are meeting the Entrepreneur First Investment Committee. They’ll be pitching their companies to our panel for further funding for their next stage of growth. 

    Many of them will go on to raise from some of the world’s top investors. It’s a competitive, nerve-wracking process that requires a solid amount of preparation.

    Here’s four things to consider before you go into your first investor meeting:

  2. Tips on being a highly productive founder – from a highly productive founder

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    At Entrepreneur First, we have an internal mantra: ‘productivity is traction for teams’. 

    When you’re in the earliest stages of founding a company, before you necessarily have a product or customers, the biggest measure of success is how productive you are. It’s the metric on which you should be measuring any co-founder and how you’re working together, and something you’ll be measured on by anyone you want to invest in you.

    Dominik Lambersy and Ceyhun Derinboğaz, co-founders of TextCortex, know this well – and are living examples of what can be achieved by a truly productive team.

    Dominik, who brings experience as a previous entrepreneur, VC and engineer, and Ceyhun a software engineer and founder with an exit, met on our Berlin programme. Ceyhun had already put out the MVP of what would become their company as a product description generator for e-commerce merchants. This initial version of the AI model was served from a homemade server under his desk, and had a few paying customers.

    Together they began to look for other, wider practical applications.

    Working and speaking to customers, they recognized not only the inefficiencies of the text creation industry, but that modern digital businesses need to spend around US$100K to $150K to follow all the best practices of digital marketing. There was a huge problem and they could build the solution. With that, TextCortex was born.

    They’ve since moved at lightning speed. The team had over 1500 users before leaving EF, and now have tens of thousands, including from Shopify, Amazon, Etsy and Fiver. They have over 10 employees on their team, and recently announced their US$1.2M Seed round.

    Reflecting on the story so far, here, Dominik shares his productivity tips for other aspiring founders looking to be as efficient and effective as possible – particularly in the early stages:

  3. Entrepreneur First’s Must-Reads (& Listens)

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    With a new year inevitably comes new ideas, and new thinking about what you’re going to achieve in the next 12 months.

    Whether you’re thinking about how you can maximise your impact, know you want to found a company, or are already on the path, we’ve pulled together our list of must-reads and listens, that any aspiring innovator should get stuck into.

    And if you’re feeling inspired, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We’d love to talk about how you can turn the ideas you’ve generated into something real with our programme in 2023.

  4. How we’re doubling down on India

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    India is ripe with talent and opportunity, with some of the world’s best education and a technology sector estimated to be worth $1T by 2030. Entrepreneur First India has already seen huge success to date, having already funded 45 companies that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Those companies, including Fello, Medpay and Unbox Robotics, have gone on to raise funding from some of the world’s leading investors, and grown at lightning pace.

    That’s why today, we’re announcing that we’re doubling down on our programme in India: to enable the country’s most exceptional people to build the next tech giants, and take them to the world. We’re unveiling a new leader, a new funding offer with greater investment allocation in the region, and a new global advisory structure for our next cohort.

    Under this new strategy, we will be increasing our investment to $75,000 for each company we fund at Investment Committee, and also expect to double the number of companies we invest in annually in India. Alongside access to capital, we will also give founders access to a full global network of 60+ industry experts and advisors; successful operators and entrepreneurs who have built and scaled their businesses.

    Commenting on the announcement, Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and EF Investor said, “I’m excited that Entrepreneur First is doubling down on India.

    The Indian startup ecosystem has already seen real success, but the best is yet to come. By investing further in the region, EF is going to play a key role in supercharging its growth.

    The next generation of Indian talent has the potential to build the iconic companies of tomorrow. Access to EF’s community, funding and networks can make it happen. Entrepreneur First is bringing the best of its global network to India to enable the country’s future founders to take their ideas from India to the world”.

    We’re also pleased to announce the strategic appointment of Rahul Samat as Partner and India Head. Rahul brings global expertise, hands-on experience as a founder, builder, and mentor, and a deep understanding of the Indian ecosystem. He joins Entrepreneur First following six years at Swiggy, where he created and grew their private brands business from pre-idea to a business unit that scaled into tens of millions of transactions.

    Rahul has assisted many startups by mentoring and coaching them through their early stage product market fit journeys. At EF, he will enable ambitious entrepreneurs to unlock their potential, find the right co-founder, and apply their skills to some of the hardest problems faced today. Rahul will lead and expand our team in India to offer expert, end-to-end support to founders – from the pre-idea stage, to finding product-market fit, and raising funds through EF’s vast investor network.

    “To realize the potential of India’s talent pool in the coming years, early-stage investment has to transform into early-stage support”, says Rahul. “In addition to providing capital, EF enables every ambitious individual to find their co-founder and build globally important businesses from scratch.

    I’m excited to work with exceptional founders from India and help them along their way to creating global impact.”

  5. Introducing Entrepreneur First Graduate

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    The CEOs of five of Entrepreneur First’s six most valuable companies all had just one year of work experience – or less – when they joined the Entrepreneur First programme. What you do after you graduate is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your lifetime – especially when you have a non-zero chance of building a top, venture-backed startup. 

    Your first move, post-university, can change the trajectory of your entire career. That’s why we’ve built Entrepreneur First Graduate, a new programme designed to give you the training, funds and mentorship you need to fulfil your potential. We believe the best way for exceptional students to realise their ambition is to build a globally-important company – and Entrepreneur First Graduate is designed to give you the best run at that goal.

    The Entrepreneur First Graduate programme is the most intense learning curve you can take post-university. It’s an opportunity to test what you’re capable of – including building a billion-dollar company that changes the world. It sounds grandiose, but we’ve seen it happen multiple times at Entrepreneur First.

  6. How to go from a non-technical employee, to a technology CEO

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    Founders come to Entrepreneur First to build technology companies. However, not all of them are technologists. Many have their skillset rooted in commerciality and business acumen. This means they tend to face a technical learning curve when they start building their startup.

    Lionel Mora is one such founder. He joined EF in 2018 with a business background, having begun his career at Google launching new products at scale. Here, he met Patrick Torbey who has a PhD in genome editing from Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, plus three published papers.

    Together, they co-founded Neoplants: producing the first generation of bioengineered plants to fight air pollution. They’re building plants that can efficiently capture pollutants, and use them as a carbon source to recycle them. Now, they’ve announced their first product: the world’s first houseplant bioengineered to remove pollutants from the air in your home.

    Here, Lionel shares his perspective on the journey from non-technical employee, to successful tech company CEO, and his advice to founders aspiring to do the same.

  7. 6 myths holding you back from founder success

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    My co-founder, Alice, and I have worked with thousands of founders since starting Entrepreneur First (EF) ten years ago. We’ve seen what motivates an aspiring founder and pushes them forward, and we’ve seen what holds them back. 

    Here are some common myths about the founder journey, and why you shouldn’t let them keep you from starting your company:

  8. Introducing Entrepreneur First Climate

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    Entrepreneur First is for exceptional people who want to solve hard problems. There are few problems as big, as urgent and as in need of the world’s best minds as climate change.

    That’s why today we’re announcing our first dedicated programme for aspiring founders who want to build companies enabling a sustainable future: EF Climate.

  9. Announcing Global Reveal 2022

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    I’m excited to announce that Entrepreneur First will be hosting our first Global Reveal on the 28th September, unveiling 30+ new companies innovating across sustainability, healthcare, web3, finance, the consumer space and more. 

    Replacing our previous Demo Days, Global Reveal 2022 will take place via a digital portal, giving you the opportunity to search, filter and learn more about the companies at your own pace, before requesting meetings with the teams you want to meet. 

    Entrepreneur First runs programmes in six cities across the world. From tens of thousands of applications from aspiring founders, we select the very few we believe are capable of building billion-dollar companies.  We invite them to leave their jobs or academic positions and spend three months getting paid to test ideas and co-founders with a community of other exceptional people. 

    At the end of this period, we back the best of the best. That’s who we’re now ready to introduce: more than 30 companies, backed by us at inception, ready for the next stage of their journey.

    Our model has so far produced a long list of outstanding companies that wouldn’t have otherwise existed – including Tractable, accuRx, Cleo, Aztec, Omnipresent, AirBank, and Transcelestial

    This is your opportunity to meet the next generation of winners right from the start.

    The companies we’ll reveal are hugely diverse, tackling issues from commerce to crypto, sustainability to supply chains. We have companies tackling issues as varied as creating a factory in space; producing non-polluting decaffeinated coffee; and providing on the spot diagnosis for women’s health issues. 

    You’re not going to want to miss this. Join us on 28th September.

  10. The 4 most common myths about CTOs

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    Thousands of aspiring founders have applied to EF. Many are immediately keen to take up the title of CTO, while others are a little more nervous about what the role entails. A concern that we see come up from time to time is that the CTOs will have to simply execute the CEO’s vision. 

    In reality, the CTO is incredibly involved in the company’s vision and strategy. The best co-founding partnerships we see manage to leverage the expertise and creativity of both founders, to create a product that wouldn’t have been possible as a sole founder.

  11. In the future, you’ll reject your friend, so you can cofound with a stranger

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    This week, we announced Entrepreneur First’s (EF’s) Series C, $158m from an alliance of some of the world’s best founders and investors, including John and Patrick Collison (founders of Stripe), Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn), Taavet Hinrikus (founder of Wise), Sara Clemens (former COO Twitch) and Nat Friedman (former CEO of Github).

    This capital, raised as a round, rather than a fund, will help us to fulfill our mission of making great companies happen that otherwise wouldn’t. This raise will enable us to move from being a single product company, to developing a full product suite which enables individuals to rapidly and effectively find a cofounder at every stage of their founding career.

    We know that EF is the best place in the world to find a cofounder having built $10B+ of companies through our unique methodology.

  12. Why we’ve raised our US$158M Series C to invest in the next generation of co-founders

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    Entrepreneur First (EF) is the best place in the world to find a co-founder and start a startup from scratch. We are excited to announce we’ve raised a $158 million Series C round from a global alliance of some of the world’s top technology founders and investors.

    They include:

    • Patrick and John Collison, co-founders of Stripe
    • Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of Wise
    • Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn
    • Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress
    • Tom Blomfield, co-founder of Monzo and GoCardless
    • Nat Friedman, former CEO of Github
    • Claire Hughes Johnson, former COO of Stripe
    • Sarah Clemens, former COO of Twitch and Pandora
    • Matt Robinson, co-founder of Nested and GoCardless
    • Patrick O’Shaughnessy, founding partner of Positive Sum and host of Invest Like the Best
    • Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman, co-founders of Deepmind
    • Rob Bishop and Zehan Wang, EF alum and co-founders of Magic Pony Technology 
    • … and many more, including our long-standing institutional backers Transpose Platform, Vitruvian Partners, Encore Capital and Isomer Capital

    The value of companies built at EF just passed $10B. With our new capital and supporters, we’re excited to see this cross $100bn, then $1T in the years ahead…

  13. Opportunity: Ask our co-founders your startup questions

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    We’re offering the opportunity for early stage founders to be a part of our latest podcast, and have your burning questions answered by our co-founders.

    In this series, our co-founders Matt and Alice will be offering advice to early-stage founders on how to maximise the value of their co-founding partnership, idea, raise and more.

    Matt and Alice supported thousands of founders who’ve built companies worth billions of dollars, and this series aims to apply what they’ve learned to the challenges startups face at the very beginning of their journeys.

    For the chance to take part, please either:

    • Fill in the form below to submit a letter to be answered on the show
    • Send a voice note* outlining the challenge or area Matt and Alice can advise you on to [email protected]

    If you’re selected, you’ll receive Matt and Alice’s guidance before the episode goes live, so you can get to work putting it to action.

    *By sending a voice note, you consent to it being played on the podcast.