Entrepreneur First is looking to raise a £40 million fund to invest in companies that are created on its startup-building course.
Founded by Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck in 2011, Entrepreneur First provides deeply technical people with £17,000 in pre-seed funding so they can build a technology startup. In return, it takes an 8% equity stake in the company that is created.
The “Next Stage Fund” will allow Entrepreneur First to provide its startups “with an immediate injection of capital” when they reach the end of the programme, which is being expanded from six months to 12 months.
The fund, set to be deployed later this year, will also be used to back Entrepreneur First companies when they raise their seed and series A rounds.
Bentinck told Business Insider on Tuesday that the fund will allow Entrepreneur First to provide better support to the technical founders that she and Clifford look to back.
Clifford, CEO of Entrepreneur First, said a number of “significant commitments” have already been made towards the fund without revealing any of further details.
New general partners
Entrepreneur First, based out of an old biscuit factory in Bermondsey, South London, also announced two new general partners: Wendy Tan White and Joe White. The duo, previously venture partners at Entrepreneur First, are the cofounders of website building software provider Moonfruit, which was acquired by Yell for $29 million (£20 million) in 2012.
Wendy Tan White said: “We believe Entrepreneur First is at an inflection point. Entrepreneur First is at the stage YC was when Sequoia came in. The opportunity of the next stage fund is unique.”
Joe White added: “We looked at doing another startup, and were offered investment to do so, we were offered roles in government and strategic consultancies, we started angel investing and we were approached to set up a fund by institutions from the UK and US. Entrepreneur First’s philosophy of company building vs. deal selection as a route to generate high performance returns was critical in our choice to join as General Partners and to help hone tomorrow’s technical talent.”
The new fund and the appointment of the Whites to general partner status coincided with the latest Entrepreneur First “demo day,” which will see 25 startups pitch their businesses to a room full of investors.
The 50 startups that have previously graduated the programme have raised over $60 million (£42 million) in venture capital from global investors, according to Entrepreneur First. Collectively, these startups are now worth more than $250 million (£176 million). The portfolio includes deep tech firms (Magic Pony Technology, Adbrain, and Tractable), marketplaces (Hubble, ClickMechanic), consumer products (Prizeo, Code Kingdoms), and hardware (Blaze, Pi-Top, Speakset).
Clifford and Bentinck announced in January that they were expanding the Entrepreneur First programme to Singapore in a bid to take advantage of the technical talent that exists in South-East Asia.