We are the UK's most exciting and challenging career choice for top graduates. We provide everything you need to build a tech startup from day one. Apply now
You don't need an idea and you don't need a team (but if you have either or both, that's great too). We're looking for exceptional people who we can help build teams and generate ideas. What we care most about is you: do you have the talent, the skills and the character to build a scalable, disruptive business?
How does it work?
October to December 2012: We recruit a cohort of people like you: bright, determined and completely committed to building a startup.
Summer 2013: We spend the summer helping you to get to know each other, experiment with different teams and try out a range of ideas. This summer we are also running Code First: Girls, a programme teaching female graduates basic coding skills. Find out more here.
September to December 2013: You'll have found (or confirmed) your co-founders and will move onto the idea validation stage of EF. You'll be moving incredibly fast, working closely with your customers to ensure that you're solving a big problem and that you have a viable, scalable solution (getting this wrong is among the biggest causes of startup failure). We give you office space, training, experienced mentors, access to our network of startups, investors, corporates and professionals and as much support and advice as you need. This autumn we have had some of the UK's most successful founders talking to the cohort, including Mike Lynch Founder of Autonomy, Stefan Glaenzer Founder of Last.fm, Pete Smith Co-founder of Songkick, Errol Damelin Founder of Wonga, Sarah Wood Co-Founder Unruly Media and Ed Wray Founder of Betfair.
January to March 2014: If you've successfully validated that you're onto something, our focus shifts to helping you accelerate as quickly as possible. You'll still get office space, mentors and legal support - and by March we want you to be ready to raise a seed round (if you've not already).
Beyond March: We (obviously) don't disappear after March - and you'll always have access to the EF network - but by then we expect you to be much more self-sufficient. At several points in the programme, you'll have a decision to make: is this working and is it for me? If so, our goal is to get you to the point where you raise money from some of Europe's top investors. If not, we will help you into your next entrepreneurial career move; whether that be starting over with a new idea, joining one of the other EF teams, joining one of our Partners or working for a startup. Whatever is right for you, we're here to help.
Entrepreneur First is designed to turn talented graduates into successful founders. If you have what it takes, apply now.
Sound like a great opportunity?
Here's what we look for.
One of the great myths of entrepreneurship is that it's all about having an amazing idea. Sadly, that's not true: startup success is at least 90 percent about execution. What's more, we've found that most EF startups have changed their ideas multiple times during the team-building process and in the course of talking to customers. That's why our application form focuses on you, your skills and your track record, rather than your ideas. No-one gets a place on Entrepreneur First on the basis of their idea or business plan. In fact, we don't ask for business plans at all.
At risk of stating the obvious, Entrepreneur First is not a job with a well-defined structure and a guaranteed monthly salary. It's less glamorous and harder work than in the Social Network. We need to believe that you'll keep going even (especially) when it's not fun.
We've found that our most successful founders tend to have several things in common:
They have a track record of building, founding, selling, hacking, making or hustling things. Sometimes that's a previous startup. Sometimes it's something completely different.
They have the skills to get things done on day one. For a lot of our founders, it means they can build things - from web services to apps to physical products. Other are accomplished designers. Some are fantastic "hustlers": they can get stuff done, build relationships and partnerships and solve problems.
They're curious about how the world is changing (often because of technology) and what this means. They spot opportunities that new technology presents.
They're ambitious. They want to build big, scalable businesses. Our mission is to support this kind of company; if you're not interested in growing very fast, this isn't the right programme for you.
They're tenacious but open-minded. They don't give up easily, but they want to learn and take on advice.
We want to help you build your startup skills, even before you join the programme. This summer we are running Code First: Girls, a free programme teaching female graduates basic technical skills. Find out more here.
"At university I felt an overwhelming pressure to go down the traditional graduate route, but EF has given me the confidence to forge my own less conventional path, alongside a fantastic bunch of like-minded people.”
Leo Seigal, Cohort 2012