Learnings at Entrepreneur First.. in Hong Kong

Over 7 years and across the globe, EF has successfully identified 700+ talented and ambitious individuals, helped built 100+ deep tech companies and have an overall valuation of 1 billion USD.

This year, they chose Hong Kong to be their 4th location after London, Singapore and Berlin. At the end of July, 50 talented individuals from the region, each having a unique edge in either technical skills, domain knowledge or product, will come together, pair up, become co-founders, and each build a million/billion dollar deep tech company.

2 months ago I was lucky enough to be introduced to EF by two friends, Kirill from Talis Capital in London and Eric from Startup Weekend in Hong Kong — and was soon on-boarded to take part of the Hong Kong journey.

Over the past 2 months, I was able to work closely with extremely driven people with a tremendous growth mindset — Freddie, AnneMarie, Lavina, Roy, Jessica, Udbhav, Gordon and Larry — and understand how Entrepreneur First’s unique model is able to not only scale globally, but really help entrepreneurs locally.

Team.

Having a smart and driven team, gave me insights on different industries and huge learnings about ambition and scale at all times. I am appreciative of the coaching I received from Lavina, who at her time at Google, was working under Kim Scott, who was working under Sheryl Sandberg. To work under a good boss grows you not just professionally and personally, as you are able to see how she mentors and coaches young people working under her. I was given complete ownership to all events hosted by EF in Hong Kong, and what’s more, she completely trusts me. I hosted 4 events in the meanwhile — a fireside chat with Teck Moh Phey, an Open House event, a joint event with HKU iDendron, and a EFHK’s Female Founder Breakfast. I really appreciate how she manages as a boss, as you wouldn't feel the stress and pressure from her, and you’re able to take initiatives and raise your voice. Another observation I made was how organized she is, following up on the right tasks over the right period of time, and having multiple excel sheets ready to keep track.

“What? You’re looking for tech talent in Hong Kong?”

Every person I talked to was more surprised than another, in fact, HK — where many people believe is a technical talent drought — has more technical talent than you can imagine. We've talked to local university professors, PhDs, researchers, software engineers and tech leads working in various startups and institutes: those talents are not just passionate about their research, many of them are even eager to transfer their skills and knowledge to a cutting-edge company.

Over the past two months, we have talked to 2000+individuals and almost filled up our inaugural cohort of 50 talented and ambitious individuals. The tremendous growth of our team, starting off by having limited connections and resources in HK and re-announcing our UK brand to a brand new location — to now in contact with local institutions and entrepreneurial spaces all across Hong Kong.* Personally I met over dozens of PhD holders and the rise of interest to make their research more useful is astonishing, and exciting.

The two months at Entrepreneur First was short, but I learned more than I would have anywhere else. Utterly grateful to be part of the vibrant team, and I shall bring the spirit with me wherever my next steps take me.

  • please contact roy@joinef.com if you’d like to know more about our Hong Kong program.
  • also apply now here

i write code and throw parties. currently coding @gitstart.com and writing a bilingual mental health newsletter

i write code and throw parties. currently coding @gitstart.com and writing a bilingual mental health newsletter