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Talent investor, Entrepreneur First announces high profile appointments

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Entrepreneur First (EF), a global talent investor, has appointed Venkat Raju as Venture Partner in India and Benedict Evans as a global Venture Partner. These appointments further strengthen the global team – giving its cohorts, portfolio, and investors access to world-class expertise in tech and company building.

Venkat is an active Angel Investor and Advisor with a portfolio of over 45 start-ups that he advises. These startups span multiple deep tech fields including AI, Blockchain, AR/VR, IoT, SaaS, Cyber & Data Security, EV & Mobility, Big Data & Analytics and verticals such as FinTech, HealthTech, Retail, etc. He has more than three decades of experience in strong business, technology and general management. Most recently he served as the CEO of Kyron Global, India’s largest Corporate Accelerator that supported startup-led Digital Transformation & Innovation programs for multinational corporations. Venkat has worked in large corporates such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank in Wall St and British Telecom in London.

Venkat will work closely with the Entrepreneur First startups in India across areas such as technology, business model and go to market strategies. His expertise will help the Entrepreneur First start-up ecosystem build on its foundation in India.

Benedict has over 15 years’ experience in the tech and media industries. He comes on board as an advisor to EF’s global portfolio and will be supporting the current and upcoming cohorts at the Investment Committee. Additionally, he will be working with the Executive Committee on strategy and portfolio composition direction. A world-class tech analyst, Evans will be providing game changing analysis, insight and recommendations for new technologies and markets that offer opportunities for the EF model and future cohorts.

Evans has spent 20 years analysing mobile, digital media and technology, and has worked in investment banking, industry, consulting and venture capital. For the last six years, he was based in San Francisco where he was a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, one of the world’s leading venture funds. Upon leaving Andreessen Horowitz, he returned to London as an independent analyst.

Esha Tiwary – General Manager, India at Entrepreneur First said, “We are delighted to have Venkat and Benedict join EF as Venture Partners. Venkat has been a part of the startup ecosystem in India and abroad and is recognized as an expert in the industry. His close mentorship of the EF India companies will be invaluable in helping them rapidly build their businesses. Benedict is a well-respected influencer in the global tech ecosystem, and in his role as a global advisor at EF, he has already been a part of the investment committee meetings of our recent cohort of Indian companies. EF thus continues to help smart, ambitious founders from India have access to such global expertise.”

“The new constraints brought about by the global pandemic are unsettling, but the world needs entrepreneurship now more than ever. By joining hands with such credible global experts, we continue to enable the world’s most ambitious people to start globally impactful companies, right here in India,” Esha added.

Matt CliffordCEO and co-founder, Entrepreneur First comments: “The expertise we have brought on the team in the last 12 months marks another key milestone for us as a company, and will enable us to continue attracting the world’s top talent both onto our cohorts and in the wider team. Benedict and Venkat bring with them world-class experience that our entire community will benefit from, and they join a list of industry experts that we have welcomed to the team recently, all of whom will play a pivotal role as we continue our journey.”

Matt further added, “Under the current circumstances, it matters more than ever what the most ambitious individuals do with their lives. The steps we’ve taken recently, such as bringing exceptional new talent on board and evolving our programme to operate remotely, have been done to ensure the next generation of talent can access to the opportunities and support they need to found companies that could have lasting impact and change lives. As we collectively look towards recovery, this will be paramount.”

Venkat Raju, Venture Partner, India at Entrepreneur First said, “I enjoy spending time with founders and help them grow into successful entrepreneurs. EF is a great platform to nourish founders focused on deep tech innovation. I am delighted to join the EF family to mentor such talent and equally learn from them.”


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