Previously

Non-Executive Director, Thirdfort
Venture Partner, Veega
Co-Founder & UK Managing Director, Funding Circle UK

Company

Entrepreneur First (EF) invests in exceptional individuals to enable them to build start-ups from scratch. EF brings together talented outliers to develop their most ambitious ideas and raise money from the world’s best investors.

Since pioneering Talent Investing in 2014, EF has learned to recognize individuals with extraordinary futures before anyone else, embedding them in a community of ambitious peers and giving them the tools they need to succeed, fast. EF backs them before they have a company, a team, even before they have an idea, based purely on talent.

The start-ups cofounded on the programs are now worth over $10B, and include Tractable, Magic Pony Technology, Cleo, La Vie, Aztec, Sonantic, and many more. EF is backed by some of the world’s leading founders and investors, including Patrick and John Collison (Stripe); Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Tom Blomfield (GoCardless and Monzo), Sara Clemens (Whatnot and Twitch); Demis Hassabis (Google DeepMind); and Matt Mullenweg (WordPress). EF exists to make great companies happen that otherwise wouldn’t.

Search Background

Entrepreneur First exists to make great companies happen that otherwise wouldn’t exist. In order to do that, they identify and catalyse extraordinary founders very early in their careers. They call this Talent Investing and  see it as a craft which can be honed and developed with access to the right advice, resources, and environment.

They required a Chief Platform Officer to ensure that Talent Investors at EF have access to a  world-class set of central functions which enable them to do their best work. This person would ensure EF maintain and build on their position as the best place in the world for Talent Investors to develop their craft.

Requirements

The successful candidate would ideally have been on an entrepreneurial, early-stage journey themselves, and could resonate with the founders on the EF programs through their own lived experiences, while also being appropriately entrepreneurial for EF’s current stage and pace of growth. With a focus on high-performance, this person would have experience building and managing high-performing and cross-functional teams in an international context. Additionally, the candidate was required to have experience working in/around venture capital funds, so would have exposure to the fundraising and/or investing process.

Result

Conducting a UK-wide search, Erevena introduced James Meekings, a seasoned founder and investor with a breadth of early-stage and high growth experience.  In 2009, he co-founded Funding Circle, a small business lending platform that leveraged technology and data to revolutionise how small businesses access lending capital. The company raised more than $500M in equity capital and successfully listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2018. He sat in several leadership roles including Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Commercial Officer and ultimately, he oversaw a scaling journey from 200 to 700 FTE in the UK. Following his successful tenure at Funding Circle, he shifted his focus to investing in and advising early-stage companies where portfolio spans several sectors, including fintech, healthtech, and travel.

Matt Clifford, Co-Founder & Chair

Elspeth Lawson, Partner

Leigh, Flo, Jonnie and team surpassed our expectations. We were hiring for a pretty niche role on our Executive team, and we started out somewhat nervous we’d be able to find someone who would be a great fit. Erevena helped us articulate what we were looking for and brought us a great array of excellent candidates. They have a great understanding of the Exec-level talent market and we are delighted with the final outcome.

Our experts

Jonathan Bryant, Partner

Specialisms: Product, Engineering, General Management

Florence Bown, Partner

Specialisms: Digital, B2C & B2B2C, Marketplace, General Management, Marketing

Leigh Carey, Senior Associate

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