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Encore Capital, the London based investment firm focused on backing entrepreneurial growth businesses, today announced its investment in the inaugural fund of Entrepreneur First (EF), the UK’s only talent first investor for deep technology.

Entrepreneur First was founded in 2011 by Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck to support technically talented graduates to build world-class start-ups in London. It is the only investment programme in the world to accept candidates pre-team and pre-idea with individuals selected purely on the basis of their technical ability or domain expertise. Many entrepreneurs in EF’s programme are pre-selected while still at university – in fact one in three computer scientists from Cambridge University now apply to join EF!

To date 37 companies have been born out of EF, raising over $40m of new capital at a valuation in excess of $150m. Success stories include AdBrain (recently raised $9 million), Pi-Top, Permutive, Tractable, Blaze, Code Kingdoms and Magic Pony Technology to name but a few.

Encore is a cornerstone investor in EF’s £8.5m fund, which will help them scale its proven pre-team, pre-idea model and allow it to continue investing in the best talent in Europe and beyond.

Khilan Dodhia, Partner at Encore commented, “By attracting some of the best technical talent in Europe, EF have created a unique business that channels investment and expertise into high growth technology businesses at the earliest stage possible. We are keen to support the rapidly developing technology investment environment in London and this investment enables us to do that, whilst at the same time giving us exposure and access to some of the stars of the future.”

EF is an exceptional platform and we are really excited to be participating in their inaugural fund and help build the next wave of tech entrepreneurs. By attracting the best talent from around Europe, bringing it to London and creating some very exciting and successful businesses, EF is doing as much as anybody to put London at the epicentre of global technological excellence at the same time as generating superior investment returns."

EF co-founder Matt Clifford said, “We are delighted to have Encore on board as our cornerstone investor. They have taken the time to really understand our business and we’ve been hugely impressed by the way they’ve bought into our vision and values. We really admire their long-term commitment and approach and we look forward to building businesses together in the years ahead. With their funding support, we are confident that we are well placed to become the go-to destination for individuals wanting to develop world-class start-ups.”

EF co-founder Alice Bentinck said, “We want EF to attract the greatest concentration of technical talent and build the most exciting technology companies in Europe. This is not about funding small lifestyle apps. This fund and the investors behind it, show that there is belief that we can support talented technical brains so that they become the UK’s business leaders of tomorrow.”

About EF

Entrepreneur First was founded in 2011 by Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck to help top technical talent build world-class tech startups in London. It is the only seed investment programme in the world to accept candidates pre-team, pre-idea with individuals selected purely on the basis of their technical ability or domain expertise.

As well as £17K in pre-seed funding, the full-time, six month programme provides individuals with mentoring and advice from the EF team and some of the UK’s top entrepreneurs, as well as office space and legal and administrative support, so that each cohort has the best possible environment to meet potential co-founders and launch their startups.

The programme has so far helped 160 people to build 37 companies who have been funded by some of the world’s leaving venture investors, including Balderton Capital, Index Ventures; Notion Capital, Octopus Investments and Y Combinator.

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