Benjamin Joffe
Jan 25 · 4 min read

Entrepreneur First (EF), the global talent investor backed by Reid Hoffman and Greylock, announced a partnership with HAX, SOSV’s program to back hardware entrepreneurs, to work exclusively together to find and co-invest in hardware talent under a joint EF+HAX program.

  • EF will select and invest in technical talent, before they have a team or idea, for their talent programs globally and fund them as individuals to find a cofounder and start validating a startup idea.
  • EF and HAX then jointly select hardware companies built on the EF program to invest in from the companies this pool of talent creates. Successful hardware teams will receive a joint investment from both programs and receive access to HAX’s facilities in Shenzhen, China to build out their prototype and accelerate development of their technology.
  • Teams chosen by EF+HAX will receive additional funding to support their hardware ambitions. The first four teams chosen for the program come from EF’s Asia locations in Hong Kong and Singapore, while a global rollout to EF’s Europe locations is currently underway.
  • All teams chosen receive $180,000 USD (cash) and $75,000 USD (resources) for 17.6% equity in their companies. Under its standard deal, EF normally invests $55,000 USD in cash for 10% equity in companies created under their programs in Asia.

Matt Clifford, Entrepreneur First co-founder and CEO said:

“We believe that the world is missing out on some of its best founders. In the last year, we’ve opened offices everywhere from Paris to Bangalore so that we can be where exceptional talent is.

Now, with HAX, we can support exceptional talent to do more than ever before. Hardware is hard but has the potential to be game-changing. With HAX we’re going to be giving hardware founders all over the world the access to funds and, more importantly, resources to succeed.”

Duncan Turner, General Partner at SOSV and Managing Director of HAX, said:

“Our passion is investing in the world’s best entrepreneurs through our program in Shenzhen and San Francisco. HAX invests in up to 40 hardware startups every year out of over a thousand candidates, and has a seven-year track record of enabling founders to bring world-changing hardware tech to the market quickly.

As SOSV continues to expand our investments, we are thrilled to be partnering with EF. The EF model is truly a new approach and has already produced some fantastic teams for us to back. They brought us four exceptional teams in a matter of months, which is a testimony to the quality of their program and selection”.

Today. the first four companies invested under the EF+HAX program are commercializing game-changing technologies including nanofiltration membrane technology and real time microbial detection.

Here are the first four EF+HAX companies:

  • AIMS ( digitizes youth sports education through motion capture and artificial intelligence.
  • BIOPSIN ( is transforming microbial diagnostics by enabling real-time detection of pathogens.
  • Neptune Robotics’ ( underwater drones and data solutions reduce fuel consumption and safeguard the voyage of every ship.
  • SEPPURE ( creates a new generation of nano-filters to revolutionize chemical separation and purification.

About Entrepreneur First

Entrepreneur First (EF) is a talent investor, founded in London in 2011 by Matt Clifford and Alice Bentinck to support the world’s most ambitious individuals to build globally important companies.

EF’s bespoke programme, the first of its kind in the world, invests time and money in outstanding individuals before they have a team or an idea, and helps them to find a co-founder, develop an idea, and create a high-growth technology company from scratch. To date, EF has helped over 1,200 individuals build more than 200 companies, with a total valuation of US$1.5 billion. EF’s companies have been funded by many of the leading venture investors in Europe, Asia, and Silicon Valley.

EF itself is backed by some of the world’s best investors, including the founders of LinkedIn, DeepMind, and PayPal. EF runs cohorts in London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Berlin, Paris and Bangalore. Major exits to date include Magic Pony — which sold to Twitter for a reported $150m just 18 months after the founders met on EF — Avocarrot, Represent, and BloomsburyAI.

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About SOSV and HAX

HAX is a venture capital-based program dedicated to accelerating startups with a hardware element. The program operates across two locations, Shenzhen and San Francisco, giving founders the resources necessary to move with lightning speed. To date, HAX has invested in over 200 startups. Notable investments from HAX are rising unicorns, Makeblock, Yeelink, Particle, and Nura.

HAX is part of SOSV, a global early-stage fund investing in 150 deep-tech startups per year. With over US$525M in AUM, SOSV operates world-class ecosystem-focused programs including HAX (hardware), IndieBio and RebelBio (life sciences), Chinaccelerator and MOX (mobile and web for Asia) and FOOD-X (food).

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SOSV: Inspiration from Acceleration

Insights from The Accelerator VC—including our programs (HAX, IndieBio, RebelBio, Chinaccelerator, MOX, Food-X, dLab) & our startups.

Benjamin Joffe

Written by

Partner @ HAX & SOSV — Investors in 200+ Hardware Startups | Digital Naturalist | Keynote Speaker | Angel Investor | 18 years in Asia | Addicted to airports.

SOSV: Inspiration from Acceleration

Insights from The Accelerator VC—including our programs (HAX, IndieBio, RebelBio, Chinaccelerator, MOX, Food-X, dLab) & our startups.

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