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

Alice Bentinck
2 July, 2022

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.

EF is transforming how potential founders start companies

One day, your best friend will turn to you and say “Hey, we should start a company together!” and you will say “Actually, I think it would be better to join EF”.


Because by getting access to a pool of carefully screened potential cofounders, you can find the right cofounder for you (not the conveniently available one).

A good analogy is online dating.

Almost 30 years ago, when online dating first started, the assumption was that if you couldn’t find a date in any other way, you went online. I met my husband online ten years ago and asked him to lie to my parents about how we met. It didn’t feel like a socially acceptable path, even though it was much faster and more effective than the alternatives.

Now online dating is socially celebrated and one of the most effective ways to find a partner. Why would you randomly hit on someone in a bar (where you have no idea of their relationship status or preferences), when you can ‘swipe’ to find someone whose preferences and availability align with your own?

Your friend may be a great buddy, but how likely is it that they are the optimal cofounder for you? What if there was a more effective way to find a cofounder, than the luck of already knowing the right person?

The supply of cofounders versus potential romantic partners is severely constrained, particularly in ecosystems outside of Silicon Valley. This means many potential founders have to settle for a cofounder of convenience — the cofounder who happens to be available and ready to go at the same time as them — rather than optimising for the right cofounder.

Why does this matter?

Cofounders are foundational to the success of your startup

Having worked with thousands of founders over the last decade, I have seen time and time again that your cofounder is foundational to the success and outcome of the startup you build.

There’s a couple of reasons why:

The best cofounders 10x your productivity – The top cofounding teams in EF’s portfolio have one very clear trait — they are insanely productive. They move with urgency, always surprising us by doing and learning more than others in their cohort. The cofounder pairing doesn’t just double the individual’s productivity, it fundamentally transforms it. The best early stage cofounding teams track productivity in the number of decisions they make each week and the amount of hypotheses that they’re proving or disproving.

The idea you end up working on will be a product of your cofounder relationship – There is often the assumption that you have an idea, then find a cofounder to build it with you. At EF, we have seen that the most valuable ideas come from two exceptionally talented individuals coming together and saying “based on our backgrounds (what we know or the skills we have, their Edge) what could we create?”. This combinatorial innovation creates unique ideas as it pushes you beyond the parameters of what you know is possible.

EF is increasing the supply of high quality founders worldwide

We have seen over the last ten years how providing access to a carefully screened and selected pool of potential cofounders can transform the likelihood that someone will become a founder. The portfolio of companies founded at EF is now worth $10bn. Many of the individuals that join us wouldn’t have become a founder otherwise. These individuals’ potential would have been wasted and the world would have missed out on the products and technologies that they have brought to life.

Bring on the next decade…

Our Series C, backed by some of the world’s top founders and investors, will enable us to bring EF’s unique cofounding methodology and expertise to even more individuals around the world.

It matters what the most ambitious people do with their lives and we want to give more exceptional individuals the opportunity to found a globally important company.

Our founding belief was that the world is missing out on some of its best potential founders. We still believe that’s true — and EF is here to change that.

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