The big event this week was company builder and early-stage investor Entrepreneur First’s latest demo day in London, which saw 18 newly outed startups pitch their wares onstage to investors, press and other actors in the European tech scene.
Once again, the calibre of founders and startup ideas was high (see my top picks here
), and, going by the spew of congratulatory tweets and other backchannel noise, you could almost sense VCs in the audience getting out their cheque books there and then.
One source tells me that pre-money valuations on the day were rumoured to be in the range of £2-4 million, something he dubbed the ‘Magic Pony effect’ in reference to EF’s only notable exit to date, which saw the 1-year-old startup sold to Twitter for a reported $150 million
A few years after Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford began EF, I distinctly remember asking one high profile VC what they thought of the 'pre-team, pre-idea’ concept, which sees EF recruit the best technical or domain talent in Europe to join its six-month program where they form teams and in turn found startups.
Their reply: 'I absolutely love what they are doing, but I’m not sure they’ll ever make any money’.
How times have changed.
Bonus: Magic Pony Technology isn’t actually EF’s only decent exit. Two companies from the first cohort, Represent and Avocarrot, have also since been acquired for what I understand to be around $120 million in total.
The kicker? That was before Entrepreneur First insisted on taking equity.