First Weeks at Entrepreneur First Berlin

In the beginning of April, I started as a participant in the first Berlin cohort of Entrepreneur First. Some call it company builder, but essentially EF is preselecting and pre-funding individuals that have a certain edge (technological, domain or product) and the deep motivation of starting their own business.

The first Entrepreneur First Berlin cohort consists mostly of lots of machine learning people, people with startup founding experience already and data engineers. There are even UX designers and doctors! The contrarian EF idea is: Throw a bunch of people, minimum 50 individuals, in a pool and let them ideate on other contrarian ideas that aim to become the next billion dollar company. Included for completeness, EF's Manifesto.

Life Is A Numbers Game

I didn’t have much expectations, but the pitches from other cohorts were crazy ideas that were difficult to implement and needed years of learning towards a specific area in advance. What I experienced the last three weeks co-founding: It’s intensely data-driven. EF as a company is learning on each new cohort, e.g. what are the traits that successful teams and the individual founders have? And, what is the best process to form teams?

In EF, life is a numbers game. If your team is stuck, and process is stalling, that’s a warning sign to break up - back to square one, almost. We celebrate the breakups. It totally makes sense to have the cultural environment, a common social norm, that embraces “failure”, the sooner the better. Being in the wrong team, is costing you opportunities & is lowering your chances of succeeding.

Ideas

Coming up with as many ideas as possible is fun. It’s easy, especially when you use certain techniques such as brain storming and lateral thinking. But coming up with the right criteria to select, and doing the actual ranking and selection is hard. One of those hard-decisions you have to take. Got the idea? Then don’t waste time and dive into customer development. De-risk your idea, improve your investment case.

Full Steam

It’s the fresh start of a week, and I’m curious how my co-founder Julian and I are going to tackle the next challenges. The cohort is full of inspiring people, and the input that I got from all those individuals is priceless. It’s almost half-time of the program, so full steam ahead & hope to see you guys at the pitch.


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