Company builder Entrepreneur First hires ex-Yahoo and Googler as new London head

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Startup veteran founder/investor Wendy Tan White joins BGF Ventures

In a recent conversation I had with a London VC, the topic of Entrepreneur First came up, as we compared notes on how far the company builder has come since its early days when the jury was well and truly out.

“What people need to remember,” said the VC, “is EF has been a startup themselves”. The point he was making is that, like many of the companies it has helped create over the last six years, EF itself has had to iterate its model as it grows the company builder programme from its much more modest beginnings.

To that end — and perhaps in recognition of this — the organisation is announcing a “strengthening and restructuring” of its leadership team as it focuses on scaling its programmes in London and Singapore.

Most notably, this includes the hiring of Alex Diaz, an experienced Silicon Valley company executive, to lead EF’s London programme, while General Partner Wendy Tan White is leaving to join BGF Ventures as a Partner. Joe White (married to Wendy), also a General Partner at EF, is taking the newly-created role of Global CFO.

Diaz was most recently Product Lead at London-based startup Kalo (formerly known as Lystable). Before that he spent over 10 years working for major U.S. tech companies, holding the position of VP of Product Management at Yahoo for nearly two years, and Senior Product manager at Google for over seven years, spending his time based in Mountain View, New York, and Zurich.

During a call late last week, Matt Clifford, EF co-founder and CEO, told me it has become increasingly clear the company needed to think more like a “scaling operating company, not a traditional VC firm”. Reading between the lines, this means bringing in some additional experienced operators and making a number of internal promotions.

He also stressed EF’s global ambitions that, it’s clear for anyone to see, has meant he and EF’s other co-founder Alice Bentinck spending an increasing amount of time on a plane. I’m told that Bentinck, for example, who was leading EF’s company building operations in London till now, will have an increasingly global focus.

To round off EF’s structural and personnel change announcements, the company builder will now be run by an executive committee of six led by co-founders Clifford and Bentinck, along with Joe White, Nadav Rosenberg (who becomes Global Director of Commercial), Zoe Jervier (who becomes Global Director of Talent), and Alex Crompton (Director, Singapore).

EF also recently recruited two new Venture Partners. They are Tim Davey, co-founder and former CTO of Onefinestay, which was acquired by AccorHotels last year for at least $170 million, and Toby Moore, co-founder and former CTO of Space Ape Games, which Supercell recently acquired a majority stake of for $55.8 million.