London-based startup hub Entrepreneur First (EF) raised $12.4 million from a star lineup of VC investors, including LinkedIn co-founder, Reid Hoffman with Greylock Partners, joined by Mosaic Ventures, Founders Fund, Lakestar Capital, and Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman of Deep Mind.
Hoffman will join the Board of Entrepreneur First, where he aims to help the hub obtain sustained success like Magic Pony, an imaging company based in machine-learning that gained EF $6.5 million from an investment of $16,000.
EF will use the money to grow their business model. “The funding strengthens our access to the world’s best capital, and provides our companies a pathway to Silicon Valley,” said Alice Bentinck, EF Co-founder to Tech in Asia.
EF follows the model of Y Combinator, where accepted candidates receive a monthly stipend and seed capital to create a startup in exchange for an 8% stake. EF attracts talent both from the technical and development spheres.
“EF’s approach to company building is unique and effective, focusing on recruiting top technologists at any stage of their career to build technically defensible companies. EF has built a vast network of strong operators and company builders, and its program has incubated promising, innovative companies,” said Mr. Hoffman. Y Combinator, is the birthplace of Airbnb, Dropbox, and Reddit.
Entrepreneur First has expanded to Singapore, where they have worked on their first generation of startups for the past year. EF reports they have helped launch more than a hundred startups in that period, with a total valuation of more than $1 billion. Other successes from EF are Avocarrot, a mobile advertising monetization service acquired for $20 million by the mobile Ad Tech company Glispa, and Represent, a digital marketing company for celebrity influencers acquired by CustomInk for a reported $100 million.