LinkedIn Co-Founder Hoffman to Invest in U.K. Startup Hub

Updated on
  • Entrepreneur First spawned Magic Pony, bought by Twitter
  • Hoffman on board of Microsoft and room-rental startup Airbnb

The venture capital firm led by LinkedIn Corp. co-founder Reid Hoffman has invested in Entrepreneur First, a London-based hub for startups, alongside Mosaic Ventures and Founders Fund.

Greylock Partners led the $12.4 million funding, which also included Lakestar Capital, and Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman, the founders of DeepMind, according to a statement from Entrepreneur First. Hoffman’s involvement was first reported by Bloomberg.

Hoffman will also join the board of Entrepreneur First. The backing of Hoffman is a significant boost to Entrepreneur First, which finds technical and business talent -- from computer scientists to banking analysts -- and then brings them together in order to create startup companies.

Reid Hoffman

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Hoffman is a partner at Greylock Partners, and in March joined the board of Microsoft Corp., three months after the world’s largest software maker acquired LinkedIn. Hoffman is also on the board of room-rental startup Airbnb Inc.

Founded in 2011 by Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford, Entrepreneur First follows a similar model to YCombinator, the California-based financier that has backed Airbnb, Dropbox Inc. and Reddit Inc. At the U.K. company, accepted candidates receive a monthly stipend, followed by a small seed investment in return for an 8 percent stake.

Magic Pony, a London-based artificial intelligence startup, is arguably Entrepreneur First’s most significant success story. Twitter Inc. paid about $150 million for Magic Pony in 2016, earning Entrepreneur First around $6.5 million from a $16,000 investment.

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