BEYOND STARTUP ACCELERATORS
We’re at the early stages of the emergence of technology entrepreneurship as the ‘default career path’. The development of the related ‘magnet’ institutions is at a correspondingly early stage. I’m skeptical that startup accelerators are the answer. The unit they care about is the company, not the individual.
In that sense accelerators are the ‘pre-mainstream’ institutions of technology entrepreneurship. They assume that any good founder can and should form a team and develop a startup idea organically. This is implicitly conservative. It’s like believing in the 18th century that all the world’s great military leaders are probably the sons or nephews of great lords. The past might look like that, but it doesn’t mean the future will.
Most accelerators have a team/idea filter on entry. This means that they don’t, crucially, provide a path by which a sufficiently talented and ambitious individual can succeed on merit alone. They therefore exclude a large fraction — perhaps a majority — of the people who could be great technology entrepreneurs.
That, in short, is why we designed Entrepreneur First. We want to support the most talented and ambitious people even before they have a company . We’re entering an era where a large proportion of the world’s most ambitious individual will be founders. At Entrepreneur First we’re building an institution that amplifies their efforts from the very beginning of their journey.
As I like to say, the Napoleon of the 21st century won’t raise an army, they’ll start a startup — and we hope they’ll start it with us.
 He wasn’t the first example — there were powerful non-nobles centuries before. But he’s a very striking one.
 ‘Default’ doesn’t mean ‘only’, of course . Hopefully it’s obvious that literacy, military command and finance are just examples, not a canonical list.
 Of course, just because a technology of ambition exists doesn’t make it a good thing. But we can all agree that it’s better for ambitious people to build valuable things than to invade countries.