eFounders morphs into Hexa, a portfolio company of startup studios • TechCrunch

Over the past 11 years, eFounders has refined the startup studio model in Europe. The company has contributed to the launch of more than 30 startups, including three unicorns – Spendesk, Aircall and Front.

While things seem to be going well for the startup studio, eFounders is pivoting – sort of. Today, eFounders is becoming Hexa, a holding company for different startup studios.

You could see this change coming as eFounders did not just eFounders for a while. In addition to its initial studio focused on the future of work, eFounders has already launched two new studios – Logic Founders for fintech startups and 3founders for web3 startups.

Hexa will run three different studios – Logic Founders, 3founders and, yes, eFounders. So what happens with eFounders then?

Thibaud Elzière, co-founder of eFounders, told me: “I started writing a LinkedIn article saying that this is the last time I write as the founder of eFounders. But it will not go anywhere, as the core team of eFounders will simply work for Hexa now.

Like other Hexa studios, there is a dedicated team of eFounders consisting of a studio head as well as a core team of product people. Matthieu Vaxelaire is now at the head of eFounders.

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Combined, the Hexa companies hired 3,000 people and reached a total value of $5 billion. And Hexa will not change its formula going forward. The startup studio Hexa matches an idea with a founding team.

The studio team then provides resources and help to launch a product. After raising some funding, startups gain independence and the startup studio can move on and focus on new projects.

“We’ve reached a limit when it comes to scalability. It’s a virtuous model but it’s also very artisanal,” Elzière told me. In addition to supporting Hexa’s existing studios, the company wants to launch studios around new verticals, such as climate , education and health.

But it will depend on the head of the studio that they meet and end up hiring. Hexa aims to launch two new studios next year.

“It’s a crazy bet for us. We are creating a brand from scratch. And we’re doing this because eFounders is a strong brand when it comes to SaaS startups, but also because eFounders has outperformed other studios,” Elzière said.

A stake of 30%.

“What we’re doing with Hexa is that we’re democratizing team entrepreneurship. We’re offering an alternative to traditional entrepreneurship,” Elzière said. “Like many things in life, when you work as a team, it works better.”

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But that doesn’t mean that Hexa and its startup studios are launching new startups for fun. They take a big stake in every new startup.

“We want to launch more startups. But it costs us about €800,000 to launch a company. We can either invest some money ourselves, or we could create a small fund like Y Combinator. Investors could contribute and they would finish on the ceiling table.

When startup studio Hexa launches a new startup, they try to keep a 30% stake in the company after raising a seed round. With third-party investors, Hexa could lower its stake to something like 25%, and the investors would get 5%.

Hexa’s own lead would be split between Hexa and each startup studio. “You would have 5 to 10% that should receive money at the head of the studio and the teams,” Elzière said. The bottom line is that Hexa and its partners would still take a 30% stake. Then it would be divided between several partners.

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“This agreement might seem a bit unfair,” Elzière said. But he thinks eFounders’ track record speaks for itself. With roughly three unicorns out of 30 portfolio companies, entrepreneurs are more likely to create a unicorn with the help of eFounders than without. Essentially, founders can potentially get a smaller portion of a bigger cake.

The life and death of startup studios

But where does Hexa come from exactly? It comes from the hexadecimal numbering system. In particular, Hexadecimal is used to represent binary digits (0 and 1) in computer programs. Each hexadecimal character represents a sequence of four binary digits.

“For me, it’s the simplest expression of the human-machine interface,” Elzière said. As a bonus, designers use hexadecimal characters for color codes.

He believes that startup studios will work the same way as startups. Some of them will thrive, others will fail. “The studios will have a certain life. At some point, they will end because the head of the studio will not be there anymore or there will be no opportunities left,” Elzière said. As always, we will judge the quality of Hexa’s work by the new startups from these studios.


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