London-headquartered startup builder Entrepreneur First (EF) announced today it has closed a funding round worth US$12.4 million. The round is led by US venture capital firm Greylock Partners. Other investors include Mosaic Ventures, Founders Fund, Lakestar Capital, and the co-founders of DeepMind, Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman.
Under the deal, Greylock and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman will join the company’s board.
The team will use the money to grow the business. Co-founder Alice Bentinck says the fresh funding “strengthens our access to the world’s best capital and provides our companies a pathway to Silicon Valley.”
EF has helped launch more than 100 startups, claiming a total valuation of more than US$1 billion.
EF builds startups out of cohorts of individuals participating in its program. During each run, participants form teams that evolve into startups by the program’s end. EF pours in seed funding and connects the startups to its networks of investors and advisors.
The company was founded in the UK in 2011 and launched its first overseas branch in Singapore in early 2016, in partnership with SGInnovate. The Singapore chapter’s first cohort of 12 startups was presented to the world last March.
Singapore-based alumni include Transcelestial, which is building an ambitious wireless communication network using lasers and nanosatellites; KroniKare, that can inspect and analyze chronic wounds through computer vision; and HydroLeap, which has developed a solution for cleaning industrial waste water through a proprietary process.
The Singapore chapter formed its second cohort in July, with 60 individuals from across Southeast Asia.
As a whole, EF has helped launch more than 100 startups, claiming a total valuation of more than US$1 billion. The company had its first major exit in 2016, when its UK alum Magic Pony was acquired by Twitter for US$150 million. The startup uses neural networks and machine learning to improve the quality of images. Magic Pony co-founders Rob Bishop and Zehan Wang also joined this latest funding round in EF.
Other successful exits include mobile advertising monetization service Avocarrot, acquired by Glispa for a reported US$20 million, and digital marketing company Represent, acquired by apparel company CustomInk for a reported US$100 million.
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