Entrepreneur First is the world’s leading talent investor. We back exceptional individuals before they have a company and then support them to build a globally ambitious startup from scratch.
As we reach the end of 2018, we wanted to report some of the highlights from our busiest year yet…
Taking our mission global
We’ve always said that the world is missing out on some of its best founders — and it’s our mission to find and fund them, wherever they are. This year we opened four new offices around the world to take us another step closer to fulfilling our mission.
2018 has been our own year of Blitzscaling (read more from Anne Marie here): on 1 January we had two offices and 230 entrepreneurs had started with us in the previous 12 months; today we have six offices and 600 founders have joined an Entrepreneur First programme this year. We opened Berlin in January; Hong Kong in April; Paris in July and Bangalore in October.
We’ve already graduated our first Berlin cohort and funded some amazing companies there — and there’ll be lots more in 2019…
Reaching the world’s best talent
We’ve had more applications to EF in the last 12 months than in the history of EF before that. We had applications from more than 160 countries and from people at the world’s leading institutions, from Google to Goldman Sachs. EF gets more than twice as many applicants per place as Oxford University.
Funding globally ambitious companies
We also saw EF companies raise more follow-on capital in the last 12 months than in the history of EF before that. This year we participated in more than one follow-on round of funding per week on average, with 58 rounds raised at the time of writing. We’re proud to have co-invested with almost every seed fund in Europe, as well as leading Series A funds like Atomico (CloudNC) and Balderton (Cleo) and top US funds like Founders Fund and Insight Venture Partners (Tractable).
Turning science fiction into commercial fact
We want to fund the world’s most ambitious founders, whatever they want to build. We love emerging technology that could transform how we live and work.
This year we funded everything from a new kind of battery to tools for working in augmented reality; a new way of designing semiconductors to a new protocol for private blockchain transactions; and software that will transform quantum computing to AI that will transform the construction industry.
Building the world’s outstanding founder community
Our alumni community is now almost 1,500 strong and truly global. This year we’ve invested in a community team and community tools so that our entrepreneurs can support each other in their journeys. We like to think that there’s no question a founder can ask where there isn’t someone in our community who either knows the answer or knows someone who knows…
Growing a team that can serve extraordinary entrepreneurs
As our community has grown, so has our team. We’ve almost doubled our headcount to just under 100 team members — and we now have the majority of our team outside London. (We’re hiring, if you’d like to join us)
Bringing the best of Silicon Valley to the world
At EF we believe that only a tiny fraction of the people who could be great founders are in Silicon Valley… but we think the world has a lot to learn from California’s success in scaling startups to become globally important companies. That’s why we love to host Silicon Valley luminaries whenever they’re in town.
We’ve been fortunate to host LinkedIn founder and Entrepreneur First board member Reid Hoffman twice in London this year. In January Reid joined us to announce our Berlin office and talk about what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. And a few weeks ago he joined us to talk about his new book on Blitzscaling — growing uncomfortably quickly to capture a new category.
We also were lucky to have Stripe co-founder and CEO Patrick Collison join us in May; Backstage Capital founder Arlan Hamilton in May; Andreessen Horowitz partner Frank Chen in June; Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin in September; and former UK Deputy Prime Minister and Facebook’s Head of Global Affairs Nick Clegg in October.
It’s been a huge year for us at EF… and we’re still just getting started. We’ll be making some big announcements in the New Year and 2019 promises to be our biggest year yet.
If you’d like to join our community, we run programmes in London, Singapore, Berlin, Hong Kong, Paris and Bangalore. You can apply here.