Alice Bentinck MBE and Matt Clifford MBE: Entrepreneur First

The six-month programme that doesn’t just find start-ups, but builds them from scratch

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Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford, both 30
Company: Entrepreneur First

Entrepreneur First doesn’t think of itself as just another accelerator: the hands-on six-month programme focuses on finding the “world’s most ambitious technical founders” – 55% are educated at Oxford, Cambridge or Imperial College London – and helping them build their company from scratch.

Launched in 2011 by Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford – who met each other whilst working for consultancy giant McKinsey – the London-based organisation doesn’t require its entrants to have a fixed idea to apply; it invests in talent. Alongside £3,600 funding for the individual, a £10,000 investment into their idea and £70,000 to kick start a seed round, Entrepreneur First provides expert mentoring and support for an 8% stake in each business. At the end of the programme it connects them to its network of high profile investors and venture capital firms.

Since launch, Entrepreneur First has created over 100 start-ups, estimated to be worth a combined value of more than $400m and last year the firm secured £8.5m to help it target more European tech talent. Both awarded MBEs as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year, at just 30, Bentinck and Clifford are two young entrepreneurs with a very bright future ahead of them.

Image ©Peter Searle.

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