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We know that communicating your founder ability isn’t an easy task. To help you, we’ve outlined exactly what we look for in applications, so you can decide what you want to focus on in your application.

Challenges convention

Drive to achieve



Clarity of thought

Valuable technical knowledge, skills or understanding

Applicability or commerciality

Our criteria shouldn’t be read as a checklist, and they’re not designed to select people out. It’s extremely rare for someone to score highly on every criteria.

We want people with a variety of backgrounds. We’re looking for outliers, who have done unusual things. Typically, our founders are particularly strong on a couple of criteria, but not all.

What do we mean by ‘Valuable Technical Knowledge, Skills or Understanding’?

EF is for people who are excited about making an impact with their talent. We believe the most scalable way to have an impact is through using technology, primarily software. 

We’re looking for valuable technical knowledge or skills (if you have these, that would most likely make you the CTO), or a deep understanding and appreciation of particular technologies (if you have this, you’re probably best placed to be CEO).

Future CTOs

When assessing potential CTOs, we’re looking for rare technical skills or knowledge. You might be part of a handful of individuals with a particular set of deep skills, or you might be recognised as a top performer in your field.

If you’ve developed or scaled a technical product that’s impacted a considerable number of users, or is recognised as technically novel, that could make you a great fit for EF.

CTOs who are a good fit for EF usually have a proven track record of building ability, which differentiates them from others in their field.

How do future CTOs demonstrate ‘Valuable Technical Knowledge or Skills’?

  • Show that you’ve been recognised as a leader in your space, e.g. by a professor, through published research or with achievements in corporate research.
  • Tell us about what you’ve built – in your work, but perhaps more importantly, in your spare time.
  • Give examples of when you’ve prioritised customer needs, or impacted a number of users with your technology.
  • Tell us about how you’ve refined your technical knowledge or skills, e.g. competing in hackathons.

Future CEOs

CEOs who are a good fit for EF are usually technically conversant. They always have an interest in, and excitement about, how technology is disrupting industries, and they think critically about how technology is being applied in industries they know, and are curious about how it will be applied in the future.

Many of our best CEOs might not have a formal technical education, but will have gone to great lengths to upskill themselves or surround themselves with technologists.

How do future CEOs demonstrate ‘Technical Understanding’?

  • Show us that you’re excited about technology – how have you built up your knowledge and understanding of particular technologies?
  • Give examples of when you’ve worked with great technical teams, and what you achieved together.
  • Tell us about products you’ve worked on, or helped to scale, especially in your spare time.
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Applicability or Commerciality