What does a great founder look like?
We’ve looked at thousands of applications and selected a very small set of exceptionally talented and ambitious individuals to join our cohorts. They have gone on to build companies that are now collectively worth over $5B.
Aside from the value created by our portfolio, the most valuable thing we have gained from many years of talent investing is knowledge. More specifically, the knowledge that allows us to identify great founders pre-idea and pre-company – purely on individual merit.
We have pored over our data. We have looked at the trajectories of our most successful founders to identify common abilities, behaviours, and choices they have made during their lives.
We paid particular attention to early indicators of brilliance in these individuals; things they had chosen to do or achieved early in their lives, which in turn demonstrated their potential to succeed as entrepreneurs. This isn’t about looking at their badges of merit, it’s about understanding how their past actions can give us a strong indicator of how they might perform in the future.
We have refined these learnings into a set of selection criteria, which we started using to assess candidates in early 2020. We now know that these criteria predict an individual’s outcome both on EF and beyond.