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Entrepreneur First opens San Francisco hub to strengthen India-US corridor and provide founders access to US investors

Entrepreneur First (EF) has launched its San Francisco hub, signifying a pivotal moment in strengthening the Indo-US entrepreneurial corridor. By providing Indian startups with the resources and network necessary to thrive on a global stage, EF plans to not only invest in the growth of these companies, but also pave the way for a more interconnected and innovative global startup ecosystem

Published: Mar 29, 2024 04:24:54 PM IST

Entrepreneur First (EF), known for pioneering ‘talent investing’, has recently opened a new hub in San Francisco, poised to serve as a vital link in the burgeoning Indo-US entrepreneurial corridor. Following EF’s pre-Seed Investment Committee, five startups (11 entrepreneurs) from India will join 28 other global teams to move to Silicon Valley.

Entrepreneur First opens San Francisco hub to strengthen India-US corridor and provide founders access to US investorsEntrepreneur First Team

The immersive program in San Francisco is a continuation of EF's efforts to cultivate global ambition among the startups built on its programs. It follows a successful graduate program launched in India in March 2023, which equipped potential founders with the necessary environment, advisory, and funding to build their startups from scratch. This program underscores EF's dedication to moulding Indian startups into globally competitive companies from their inception.

The inaugural San Francisco batch will be made up of 33 teams across the globe who will be working on everything from non-invasive brain-computer interfaces to decode language-related thought in the brain to Figma for spatial computing. EF has also upgraded its investment terms for founders joining their programs across the globe. Teams that pass their pre-Seed Investment Committee will be offered a $125,000 investment for an 8% convertible instrument. In addition to the $125,000 investment amount per company, every founder will receive a pre-seed advance of up to $5,000 investment amount upon acceptance into one of their programs. This $5,000 advance per founder is in addition to the $125,000 Pre-Seed investment.

"It’s well known that Europe and India have some of the world’s most talented engineers. But their path to becoming globally important founders is still too fraught with obstacles.”, said Alice Bentinck, co-founder and CEO of EF. Highlighting the transformative potential of the San Francisco hub, she remarked, “Launching the SF hub is not just about access to the world’s best investors, but it’s about the ‘wet-ware’ mental upgrade EF founders will get from being surrounded by a dense ecosystem of ambitious peers”.

Building across a wide range of sectors, EF India’s portfolio boasts 50+ successful startups such as gamified investment and personal finance platform Fello, which has a user base of over 1,000,000 people and raised US$4M in their latest funding round, and Beatoven, which harnesses artificial intelligence to empower video and podcast content creators in composing original soundtracks without any prior music expertise.

The selected Indian startups for the San Francisco hub stand out for their innovative products across various tech domains, this comprises of five outlier startups from India joining their 28 global peers including CodeAnt AI, Hanomi, Insight XR, Iterate AI, Repello AI and Unproject.

Entrepreneur First opens San Francisco hub to strengthen India-US corridor and provide founders access to US investorsEntrepreneur First's San Francisco hub signifies a pivotal moment in strengthening the Indo-US entrepreneurial corridor.

Iterate AI, founded by Saksham Aggarwal and Shubhram Bhattacharya, is aimed at creating infinite engineering bandwidth for product teams. "My journey in San Francisco has been incredibly exciting so far. While moving here had made me excited about being part of the world’s tech ecosystem, I was equally afraid of how I would adjust to a new country. This is where we received immense help and support from Entrepreneur First”, said Shubhram Bhattacharya, Co Founder, Iterate AI.

Shubhram was a product manager who built India's first book-keeping app for truck owners, while his co-founder Saksham, is a CS senior from BITS Pilani, who also worked as a full-stack developer at pyor.xyz. In the EF program, the founders went through several ideas across industries before landing on Iterate AI, which was validated after speaking to customers. The founders had invalidated a few hypotheses, and eventually landed at the insight for Iterate AI, all while being supported with EF’s advisory. Shrubram added, “Entrepreneur First has been the backbone of our journey – from solving day-to-day problems, introducing us to potential customers, investors, and even guiding us to valuable events to hone our pitches. As we gear towards the EF Demo Day, we are eager and excited to witness the levels of ambition that we can achieve.”

Joining such a roster of achievers also include Rishabh Singh, Viba Mohan, founders of Unproject, building the Figma for spatial computing. Notably among others, CodeAnt AI by Amartya Jha and Chinmay Bharti is a DevTool that helps companies find and auto-fix code issues and security vulnerabilities. Hanomi, founded by Marco Mascolo and Drishti Bhasin, is an engineering co-pilot to slash design cycles for hardware companies by 50x. Insight XR by Sudhanshu Heda and Akshat Khare is dedicated to building an Analytics and Insights Platform for XR Experiences to help teams build data-backed experiences. Finally, Repello AI founded by Aryaman Behera and Naman Mishra is an automated red-teaming tool to proactively find vulnerabilities in generative AI applications.

Rahul Samat, EF's Partner and India Head, expressed optimism regarding the program's impact. “From Bengaluru to San Francisco, our immersive program is a testament to our commitment to Indian founders, enabling them to build global companies from inception. Witnessing their growth over the past year has been inspiring, and we’re excited to see them create global impact. As they step onto the global stage, their diverse perspectives will not only contribute to the entrepreneurial fabric of their home countries but also enrich the global startup ecosystem”, Samat stated.

By facilitating unparalleled access to resources, networks, and capital, EF aims to continue to empower visionary founders to turn their innovative ideas into world-changing companies. Once founders relocate to San Francisco post funding from EF’s Investment Committee, they will be matched with a Silicon Valley advisor, attend weekly conversations with experienced founders, operators, and investors, and pitch to world-leading investors at an in-person Demo Day hosted by Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn.

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