For aspiring entrepreneurs in India who have a plan but no funds and teams to execute that plan, the source of acquiring these resources was majorly limited to the unorganized sector of family and friends so far. Sometimes, with the right amount of securities they could secure a loan from a bank.
This changed two months ago. Entrepreneur First, a venture firm that aims to provide right funds and right co-founders to extraordinary individuals with outstanding ideas, had entered India in January this year. When a company is formed, EF has pledged to invest in it separately from the initial stipend.
The Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck founded firm has so far funded and guided 1,200 entrepreneurs in achieving their dreams of building more than 200 tech companies which are now worth $1.5 billion altogether.
In India, the firm came with an aim to invest $25 million in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. A maiden cohort of 50 individuals has already been selected out of 900 contestants. These individuals will be paid a stipend of $2,000 in the first three months while they look for co-founders and develop ideas.
The total number of individuals in these bi-annual cohorts is expected to go over 300 in next three years. 50 early and pre-seed stage companies shall also graduate in this startup growth programme.
Now the firm has made the first close on a new deep tech focussed fund that is to be invested globally. This first close worth $115 million counts investors from across the world. Institutional investors from US, Europe, and Asia led the round, while entrepreneurs like Taavet Hinrikus, TransferWise founder; Alex Chesterman, Zoopla founder; and its own alumnus Rob Bishop, Magic Pony Technology co founder – a firm which was acquired by Twitter, Inc. for $150 million.
With the new fund, the firm has a target to invest in 2,200 individuals who will form cohorts in its six operational locations – Bengaluru, Hong Kong, Berlin, Singapore, London, and Paris. These brilliantly talented entrepreneurs will then be able to form high-growth technology firms from scratch, says the firm in a Mint report.
The first Indian cohort is in the process of working on deep tech phenomenons like Artificial Intelligence, quantum computing, AR/VR, robotic etc. The second cohort starts in July 2019 and the applications are already being invited.
The operations will only take place in the Silicon Valley of India, Bengaluru.