My guest today is Alice Bentinck, co-founder of Entrepreneur First. Entrepreneur First, or EF, invests pre-company by systematizing the way that talented individuals find co-founders, develop ideas, and scale into companies. They’re an incubator of teams and ideas on a mission to create impactful companies that, without their help, wouldn’t exist. I first spoke with Alice’s co-founder, Matt Clifford, over two years ago and have been fascinated with EF’s model of investing ever since. Please enjoy my conversation with Alice Bentinck.
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[00:02:33] - [First question] - Overview of what Entrepreneur First is today
[00:05:57] - How she identifies the people to bring into each cohort and convince them to quit their job to join EF for eight weeks
[00:10:10] - Categories of the main types of people who join the EF program
[00:12:32] - What she’s learned about negative screening at the first stage of recruits
[00:14:07] - Positive signals she looks for in early admissions
[00:17:46] - What the program itself feels like as a participant
[00:21:29] - Reasons partners tend to fail and whether or not EF advises equity splits between founders
[00:24:49] - How important the idea is that the team will be working on
[00:28:04] - Exercises she enjoys doing with the new cohorts around social norms
[00:30:38] - How the experience looks physically in each city
[00:32:57] - Categories of data collected as the cohorts unfold and making investment decisions
[00:36:46] - Ways the companies mature after EF and what kinds of investors fund the next stage of their startups
[00:40:55] - Why aren’t there ten EF style initiatives or organizations
[00:44:26] - Motivations for the change in their holding company structure
[00:46:48] - The love of product and ideas she’s playing with right now
[00:51:49] - Cities she has her eye on that EF is not a participant in today and criteria that makes a city desirable for EF
[00:54:03] - A piece of software that EF could benefit from that doesn’t exist yet
[00:55:30] - The keys to her harmonious relationship with her co-founder Matt
[00:59:01] - National and international impediments that directly impact company building
[01:01:36] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for her