When should you apply to Entrepreneur First?

By Allister Furey, EF Europe MD
22 May 2019

Article5 Minute Read

EF is the world’s leading talent investor. We invest in founders before they are founders. We invest before they have a team and usually even before they have a validated idea. Since the inception of EF in 2011, we’ve worked with over 1200 founders. They have gone on to found over 140 companies, collectively worth over $1.5B. However, if you apply too late – you might miss the deadline and miss out on the chance to impact the world.

Startups — maximising the impact of the most talented people

We believe that for many people, starting a company is their most effective way of impacting the world. We want to make starting a company accessible to the people with the highest potential  impact. This should be regardless of their financial circumstances or where they are.

We gift every person that joins our programme three months living costs (non repayable — your money to keep). This allows them to focus on finding a co-founder and validating an idea. Only 14 weeks after starting the programme, we then invest in about half of the companies formed . This  lets the founders to carry on paying the bills, make early hires or spend on equipment (or AWS if they burn through the $100k AWS credit that comes free to EF companies!). The majority of the teams that we fund will go on to raise more money — at a multi-million dollar valuation.

To summarise: We pay people to have the right to invest more money three months later. The majority of those go on to become paper millionaires in the next year, and build potentially extremely important companies often leveraging genuinely novel technology. It’s an amazing deal.

We know exceptional talent is found all over the world, so to make EF accessible worldwide, we now run programmes in 6 cities across Europe and Asia. We’ll expand more in future but for now,  our Singapore, London and Paris locations can help with relocation visas.

Founders on our first Bangalore Cohort — BA1.

If this all sounds amazing enough and you are ready to go, click here to apply. We make offers on a rolling basis for the upcoming cohorts.

Application deadlines at EF:

The TLDR version of the below content is: it gets continually harder to get into EF —apply as soon as possible!

You can see our upcoming deadlines here.

How our admissions process works: Deadlines

Each of our sites run 2 programmes per year. The Asia programmes start January and July. The Europe programmes start April and late September/early October

For the current cycle in Europe and the next cycle in Asia there are three application deadlines per cycle.

Earlybird + Visa Deadline
  • An application at the early deadline has the highest chance of getting on to a cohort.
  • If you require a visa to start the programme, or start a company in that location, you must apply by this deadline. If you require a visa and miss this deadline, we can’t guarantee that your visa application will be processed in time to join, which in turn may affect your chances of getting an offer. You should flag whether you require a visa in our application form.
Main Deadline
  • The Main deadline gives the next highest chance of getting onto a cohort.
Late Application Deadline
  • The late deadline has the lowest pass rate but still may have a higher pass rate than the next cohort’s early deadline.
  • Sadly we cannot accept applications where a visa is needed.


How should I interpret this?

The golden rule for EF is apply as early as possible, for everyone, in all circumstances, this is for three reasons.

  • Visas — if you need a visa to join one of our programmes, we can usually facilitate this in Singapore, London and Paris. However visas take time, and you will therefore need to apply WAY before our late deadline.
  • Notice periods — People often forget to bake in the fact they need to give notice to their boss, employees, supervisor or lab manager.
  • Composition — We place a lot of emphasis on getting the mix of founders right. We want a great mix of edges, technologies, industry exposure, personality types and skills. The first person with a specific profile adds more value to the mix than the fifth or the tenth. In practice this means that a late applicant may be rejected purely because we are over-indexed on that profile — even if they are good enough to meet EF’s high talent quality bar. While this may seem harsh, it’s really important for us to look after the existing offer holder pool by making sure that each additional offer is a net value add.

Wait, does that mean if I apply early on I have a higher chance of getting on, even if stronger candidates apply after me?

  • No, if there is any doubt about how strong a candidate is, they might be invited to a follow up interview to be certain. Everyone on the cohort must have the potential to build something exciting. However as explained above — sometimes even strong candidates don’t make it through if they apply late in the cycle.

If I’m late — should I wait and apply for the next cycle?

  • No! Our application count is increasing globally and we have a fixed number of places — this means that each cohort is harder to get into than the one before. We also provide feedback to candidates at the margin that might be helpful for later applications.

Whatever your skillset and background, we’d love to see you apply to EF and join the highest concentration of talented and potentially impactful people in the world.

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