Investing

LinkedIn Co-Founder Hoffman to Invest in U.K. Startup Hub

LinkedIn Corp. co-founder Reid Hoffman plans to invest in Entrepreneur First, a London-based hub for startups, according to people familiar with the situation. 

The investment could be announced as early as Monday, said the people, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. The amount of capital Hoffman is investing into Entrepreneur First could not be immediately learned. A spokesman for Entrepreneur First declined to comment. Hoffman could not be reached for comment.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The backing of Hoffman is a significant boost to Entrepreneur First, which finds technical and business talent — from computer scientists to banking analysts — and then brings them together in order to create startup companies.

Hoffman is a partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners, and in March joined the board of Microsoft Corp., three months after the world’s largest software maker acquired LinkedIn. Hoffman is also on the board of room-rental startup Airbnb Inc.

Founded in 2011 by Alice Bentinck and Matt Clifford, Entrepreneur First follows a similar model to YCombinator, the California-based financier that has backed Airbnb, Dropbox Inc. and Reddit Inc. At the U.K. company, accepted candidates receive a monthly stipend, followed by a small seed investment in return for an 8 percent stake.

Magic Pony, a London-based artificial intelligence startup, is arguably Entrepreneur First’s most significant success story. Twitter Inc. paid about $150 million for Magic Pony in 2016, earning Entrepreneur First around $6.5 million from a $16,000 investment.

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