Amidst the global lockdowns and coronavirus precautions, Entrepreneur Firstopted to reveal their latest European cohort virtually, through pre-recorded pitch videos.
Investor and media demand clearly was high for the 13th European cohort’s reveal, as the dedicated website for the online demo day initially crashed due to too much traffic at its 1 p.m. launch time. But after some wrangling behind-the-scenes, the teams from London, Berlin and Paris were on show for the first time.
EF was founded in 2011 by Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford, and is well-known for their non-traditional approach to the entrepreneurial path. Instead of selecting companies with existing business ideas for their cohorts, individuals are chosen based on their technical and business talent, and EF works with them to create high-growth startups from scratch.
The focus has shifted over the last two years, with synthetic biology startups emerging amongst the AI and machine learning companies. As Clifford puts it: “We’re increasingly seeing that the world’s most talented and ambitious people are motivated to solve huge problems in the [life science] space, and we are hitting an inflection point where the barriers to entry to building a breakout biotech company are dramatically reducing.”
Some of the life science focuses include animal-free dairy, gene therapies for treating donor livers, genetic information capturing and digital twins of cells to accelerate drug discovery.
With the spotlight shifting somewhat towards life sciences at EF still being a relatively new approach, it will be intriguing to see how their talent-first method fares in this rapidly accelerating market; building successful biotech companies is, after all, no mean feat.