Greylock Partners leads $12.4 mn investment round in venture builder Entrepreneur First
based venture builder Entrepreneur First (EF), which also has an IndoAsia Pacific base in Singapore, has closed a $12.4 million investment led by Silicon Valley-based Greylock Partners.
Other investors in the round included Mosaic Ventures, Founders Fund, Lakestar Capital and Deep Mind founders Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman.
EF alumni that supported the round included Rob Bishop and Zehan Wang of Magic Pony Technology, an artificial intelligence (AI) start-up reportedly sold to Twitter for $150 million, and Bryan Baum, co-founder of Represent.
Entrepreneur First invests in technical founders at the “pre-team, pre-idea” to ideate, conceptualise and create new startup ventures. This latest investment will see Reid Hoffmann, a Greylock partner and co-founder of Linkedin, join its board of directors.
In an official statement on 11 September, Hoffman said, “In my own personal career, I love to work with products and institutions with network effects. Naturally, this has ranged from Linkedin to Facebook to Airbnb to Convoy. At Entrepreneur’s First, I also think that they are building a very interesting network effect— a network of founders, companies, advisors, and financiers. This network effect will very much help the new founders and new companies, as well as helping the existing ecosystem.”
Founded in 2011 by Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford, EF markets itself as a venture builder that targets founders with technical and domain talent in Europe and Asia and invite them to apply for a six-month programme where they connect with co-founders. It launched in Singapore in early 2016 in partnership with state-backed investor Sginnovate.
The programme supports its participants with financial support in the form of a monthly stipend for living costs while founders select and connect with their co-founders and conceptualise their venture, coupled with pre-seed funding, office space, mentoring, as well as legal and administrative support.
EF maintains a £40 million Next Stage Fund, whose anchor investor is the British Business Bank with a £26 million investment. This fund was closed in September 2016 and it co-invests in alumni firms at the seed and Series A stages.
In an interaction with Techcrunch, Hoffman said: “Even though I don’t like to invest outside of Silicon Valley, the ability to create a portfolio of great entrepreneurship and great companies is something I treat as a personal mission. I think where it’s helpful is when you have depth of tech talent, creativity, an interest in creating companies but an as yet only partially developed entrepreneurial culture.”
Management changes: Reid Hoffman, co-founder of Linkedin. This latest investment will see Hoffmann, a Greylock partner, join its board of directors.