ELLE's Tech Titans: Alice Bentinck

​Tech Editor Robyn Exton meets the women ruling Silicon Valley

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Alice is co-founder of Entrepreneur First and Code First: Girls. At Entrepreneur First she has built and invested in 100 startups, now worth in excess of $450m. 

Code First: Girls has taught more than 4000 young women to code, for free, while at university. 

Before that she was a consultant at McKinsey & Co. 

I always knew I wanted to build my own company

I was working as a management consultant, but left after two years with one of my best friends from work and set up Entrepreneur First and we now help other people to build their own companies.

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We create new ways to build and fund start-ups

 Unlike any other investor, we invest in individuals before they have a team or an idea. 

Before we started, it was generally perceived that this was too risky.

I turned down a job at Google to start my own company

Everyone was telling me I was crazy to start my own company. 

That said, I'm glad I listened to my gut and took the plunge because I  knew that it would only get harder as I got older. 

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Growing up all my career aspirations were around animals

I grew up in the very rural New Forest, and wanted to be a vet, an animal trainer or breeder.

It wasn't until I did Young Enterprise at school that I realised I could have a career in business and I became hooked. 

Cycling to work is the best way to clear my head

I believe in taking holiday and always come back refreshed and more creative. The hardest thing is working out how to make time out a regular part of your week - I'm not so good at that. 

I cycle everywhere in London and find that's the best way to unwind. 

There is nothing like having to focus hard on avoiding buses to clear the mind.

I have a strong sugar addiction

I particularly like cake and penny sweets. 

For my 30th, my best friend Emily created the ultimate cake penny sweet combo.

'I'm addicted to sugar'

Everyone should read...

Mindset by Carole Dweck. 

It looks at different attitudes to learning and how this affects your relationships, your career and your life outcomes. 

I've become slightly obsessed with her philosophy and get all the entrepreneurs that work with us to read it.

My mantra is...

Strong beliefs weakly held. 

This is something the whole EF team and the entrepreneurs we work with live by. 

When you are doing something new it can be easy to stall because you don't know what direction to take. 

Strong beliefs weakly held means putting a line in the ground now and then testing and updating it based on new knowledge.

My favourite emoji is...

The goat. 

I had 9 goats when I was growing up…

Which song would be your personal theme tune?

Finish the sentence: I am here to... 

Build Europe's first Google. 

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