Entrepreneur First Backs Indian Students to be the Next World-Changing Founders with the Launch of its Graduate Program

Mr. Rahul Samat, Partner and India Head, Entrepreneur First

Entrepreneur First (EF) is an early-stage talent investing firm that hand-selects exceptionally talented individuals and brings them together to build globally impactful companies from scratch. Established in India in 2019, the global talent investor has now announced the launch of its ‘Graduate program’ for the best of India’s current students and recent graduates. This program is focused on promoting entrepreneurship amongst young Indians by backing them even before they have an idea or a co-founder and providing them with the necessary tools including the capital, mentorship, and network to build successful businesses.

In just over a decade, Entrepreneur First, via its programs in London, Paris, Berlin, and Bangalore, has enabled over 3000 individuals to build more than 600 companies that are now worth over $10B. EF’s model of Talent Investing is a new investment category that recognizes and supports individuals with the potential to become successful entrepreneurs. EF’s mission through Talent Investing is distinct from that of traditional startup supporters such as incubators, accelerators, and VC firms. Rather than prioritizing established teams or solid ideas, EF is dedicated to empowering exceptional individuals to create groundbreaking companies that might otherwise never exist. With its innovative approach to identifying and supporting top talent, EF offers a truly unique pathway to entrepreneurial success, inspiring those with the drive and vision to reach new heights. This model is based on the belief that a small number of exceptional people could if given the necessary resources, have an extraordinary impact by creating technology startups that shape the future.

With its Graduate program, EF India is setting out to invest in people with zero to two years of industry experience. The team at EF believes that young people are uniquely placed to build billion-dollar companies by virtue of being more driven and having the appetite to take up ambitious problems with high-risk high-reward outcomes. EF’s program is designed to transform the career trajectories of Indian students by emboldening them to explore entrepreneurship early on. EF’s philosophy is to encourage unusually talented students to explore entrepreneurship to unlock their ambition and achieve groundbreaking success. While traditional paths such as academic pursuits and campus jobs have their merits, EF believes that exceptional individuals can create true impact in their careers by founding companies that solve globally important problems.

Entrepreneur First has meticulously crafted selection criteria ranging from an ability to challenge convention, to clarity of thought to technical ability and commerciality. Based on a decade of global expertise in Talent Investing, EF has observed that the best founders are particularly strong on a couple of criteria, but not all. However, they all share a few traits: ambition, a sense of urgency, and the determination to succeed. EF’s Talent Investors carefully handpick individuals who display the qualities intrinsic to being a successful founder, regardless of background or educational pedigree. Once selected, the Graduate cohort will embark on a fast-tracked journey from student to startup founder – where they will receive a stipend towards living expenses; the opportunity to collaborate with an exceptional pool of potential co-founders; access to top mentors and advisors; and a platform to pitch for pre-seed investment.

Entrepreneur First’s Graduate program launch in India is a response to the country’s evolving business landscape, which has led to a ripe market for talent investment. With a rising number of graduates exploring entrepreneurship, there is an increasing need for resources and support that can help nurture them into successful founders. “We believe India has the potential to become a global leader in technology entrepreneurship, and our Graduate program is focused on identifying high-potential individuals with a passion for building impactful startups from scratch,” said Mr. Rahul Samat, Partner and India Head, Entrepreneur First. “We are thrilled to bring Entrepreneur First’s Graduate Program to India, providing local talent with the resources they need to solve important problems. Our program will create a new generation of successful entrepreneurs and contribute to the growth of India’s startup ecosystem,” he added.

EF’s Graduate program in India is now accepting applications from students currently at university or those who have 1-2 years of professional experience.

About Entrepreneur First Entrepreneur First invests in exceptional individuals to build startups from scratch. Through their highly selective programme, the talent investor brings together people with extraordinary futures to develop their most ambitious ideas and raise money from the world’s best investors.

Co-founded by Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck, EF runs programs in North America, Europe, and Asia. EF opened their doors in India in 2019, and in 2022 announced that they were doubling down on the country. The companies co-founded via the program are now worth over $10B+ in combined portfolio value, and include Tractable (valued at $1B), Magic Pony Technology (exited to Twitter for a reported $150M), Cleo, Omnipresent, Aztec, Transcelestial, Airbank, Unbox Robotics, Fello, KiranaClub and many more. EF is backed by some of the world’s best tech founders and company builders, including Patrick and John Collison (Stripe); Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Tom Blomfield (GoCardless and Monzo), Sara Clemens (Pandora and Twitch); Nat Friedman (GitHub); and Matt Mullenweg (WordPress).

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