Grey­lock Part­ners leads $12.4 mn in­vest­ment round in ven­ture builder En­tre­pre­neur First

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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.

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