A UK startup factory is going to the US to find more money for its founders

Alice Bentinck Matt Clifford Entrepreneur FirstEntrepreneur FirstEntrepreneur First cofounders Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck.

Entrepreneur First, a London-founded technology incubator that helps technical individuals to build a startup, is hoping to tap into the deep pockets of US investors.

The startup builder announced on Tuesday that it is setting up a new investment team with operations in Boston in a bid to help the founders on its programme to reach more investors and access more early-stage capital.

Matt Wichrowski, head of investment at Entrepreneur First wrote in a Medium blog post titled “EF’s coming to America” on Wednesday that Europe continues to trail the US in both deal count and aggregate investment.

Wichrowski referred readers to the latest CB Insights Venture Pulse Report, which found that US startups raised $53.9 billion (£42 billion) in the second quarter of 2016 while European startups raised just $6.3 billion (£4.9 billion) over the same time frame.

“We must recognise that European capital has not effectively kept up with European talent, and rather than wait for others to come to us, we’re taking action,” he wrote.

“My primary task will be to build an EF investor network composed of the best VCs, syndicates and angels across the States.” Wichrowski added: “My mission will be to provide our teams a highly curated view of the most relevant investors and tailored guidance for their unique fundraising needs. And my hope is that this upfront effort will significantly reduce the time and energy drain for our founders.”

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 75 startups that have previously graduated from the programme have been backed by the likes of Index Ventures and Y Combinator. Collectively, these startups are now worth more than $400 million (£308 million), according to Entrepreneur First’s website.

The Entrepreneur First portfolio includes deep tech firms like AI startup Magic Pony Technology, which was sold to Twitter for a reported $150 million (£115 million), as well as hardware startups like laser bike light Blaze and Raspberry Pi laptop kit Pi-Top.

Interestingly, Entrepreneur First announced in March that it was aiming to raise a £40 million investment fund of its own to back the companies that graduate from its programme. The “Next Stage Fund” is designed to allow Entrepreneur First to provide its startups “with an immediate injection of capital” when they reach the end of the programme.

Business Insider asked Entrepreneur First for an update on the status of the “Next Stage Fund” and is waiting to hear back.

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