Simply put, Entrepreneur First (EF) is an entrepreneur maker. It is the world’s leading talent investor that invests time and money in talented and ambitious individuals, helping them to find a co-founder, develop an idea, and start a company. They have pioneered this model, and over the past eight years, built more startups this way than anyone else. So far, they’ve helped over 1,000 people create over 200 companies, worth a combined $1.6 billion.
Take the story of Rohit Jha for example. Hailing from Jamshedpur, Rohit Jha is the co-founder of Transcelestial, a company developing a laser communication solution to replace existing wireless communication technology. Rohit met his co-founder Mohamed Danesh on the very first day of an EF cohort. They’ve since gone on to raise a $2.5 million seed round that included some high-profile investors and have demonstrated their wireless laser technology rolling out 5G with South Korean TelCo giant SK telecom.
When EF made a list of the places where they believed they could have the highest impact, India was high on that list — and it’s easy to see why. India has an extraordinary talent pool. A good deal of Silicon Valley — not least Google and Microsoft — is run by entrepreneurs and executives who started life in India. Increasingly, founders no longer believe they have to leave India to have an extraordinary impact: from Flipkart to Paytm, it’s clear that you can build globally competitive technology companies in India.
Their vision is to accelerate this trend tenfold. They believe that a disproportionate share of the next decade’s deep tech giants will be built in India and want to play a major role in making that happen.
According to EF, the people they invest in have four key ingredients: ambition, problem-solving, determination and an edge.
Did you ever think about building a tech company but didn’t know how to get started? Are you someone who can’t wait to use your industry or technical experience to found a tech startup, but just don’t have a co-founder? You’re not alone!
An EF cohort is the best place in the world to find your co-founder and build a technology startup from scratch. It is a highly charged environment designed to bring people together and help them realise their potential. Their cohorts run every six months in Bengaluru, with 50 people taking part. The programme is full-time as they believe building a successful company requires a full-time commitment.
If you’re one of these: A deep tech expert with a PhD in any technical field; a product builder who is exceptional at building scalable products; a domain expert who has spent several years in a particular industry, or a business whiz who can take any product to market and build a business around it, the EF cohort could be just the opportunity you need.
The application form is the first step towards joining EF. It is designed to get an insight into your past achievements and your suitability to found a company on the programme. Usually, approximately 20 percent of applications make it to the interview round.
Successful applicants will be invited to interview, where they will meet a member of the EF team. The interview will focus on the individual’s background and edge. EF will normally be able to confirm your place on the cohort within two weeks of the interview.
The first 14 weeks of the programme focus on finding the right co-founder and supporting you both to develop and refine an ambitious idea. EF calls this Form, and during this phase, each person gets a monthly stipend of US $2000. At the end of Form, the EF Investment Committee evaluates your startup and decides whether they will invest in your company. Typically, 40% of the companies formed during Form make it through the Investment Company to go to the next stage, Launch.
Once you join Launch, you will receive the first investment in your company. Over six months you and your co-founder take part in structured training and work with EF’s dedicated advisors to accelerate your growth. The highlight is a region-wide Demo Day, where teams present their companies to hundreds of the world’s best investors (the last Demo Day had over 200 global investors participating to look at EF companies). This is followed by several weeks of fundraising office hours, where EF brings investors to you, with the goal of raising a seed round that puts you on the path to scale.