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Being the perfect 3rd Co-founder : the Startup Studio Model

Thibaud Elziere
Thibaud is the founder of Hexa. An entrepreneur at heart, Thibaud has co-founded over 30 companies through Hexa, many of which have become huge successes. He knows what makes a good idea and how to kickstart it. Previous to Hexa, Thibaud exited his first company Fotolia to Adobe.

There are only a few startup studios in the world, and among them, our model is very clear: we act as the 3rd co-founder of our startups.

Have you checked our website+newsletter about startup studios, “BuildTogether”? http://buildtogether.co/

As the co-founder of eFounders, along with Quentin Nickmans, I often get a lot of questions, nay misunderstandings about what is a startup studio, compared to an accelerator or a seed investor, and where we position ourselves among these structures. There are only a few startup studios in the world, and among them, our model is very clear: we act as the 3rd co-founder of our startups.

Following a traditional model, our co-founders are CEO and CTO. In a startup studio like eFounders we recruit co-founders — and not “managers”. Getting a salary — in addition to shares — does not mean that the co-founders are simply employees: being an entrepreneur is not defined by your work contract. It is a very efficient way to 1. access the best profiles and 2. remove an unnecessary discomfort that a lot of entrepreneurs face.

As a co-founder, we find the right idea. It basically means we find an addressable market and a way to smartly address it key, and then we spend weeks assessing our first idea. When confirmed, this idea is what the co-founders will work with. Even if it is bound to evolve, it saves a lot of time and creative energy that can be harnessed for other tasks.

We, “3rd co-founder” are in reality a team of brilliant people to assist our startups on execution. All of them have both an expertise — either in tech, design, business or marketing — and the mindset of a doer, who are targeting output.

As a great co-founder, we spend money very, very carefully. Without being control freaks, we make sure to implement management accounting at the very beginning.

In the daily life of our projects, we are involved full time. We provide tools, processes and habits to master time management to help our startup find the right pace for their development. In times of difficulty – and in times of success – we, as co-founders, remain an unwavering support.

As a great co-founder, we provide a true, useful network – certainly the most over-promised thing in the startup world — because we’ve already created several startups on the same vertical (SaaS and marketplaces). We also created what we called “the Network”: a true sense of community we share and a set of tools to maintain our Network alive: a dedicated messaging system, a face book, a virtual money, and more to come.

Last but not least, the cap table of our startups looks like any 3-founders startups who get seed financing. 25% of the startups belongs to the CTO, 25% to the CEO, 25% to eFounders and 25% to eF Capital, which provides all that’s needed for the first expenses. When our startups achieve their following raises of funds, equity dilution is made just like any other startup: between all co-founders.

On the contrary to companies like Rocket Internet, where managers breed projects, we, at eFounders, build companies just like the “regular” way. The 3rd cofounder’s role is to find formidable founders and to bring all the needed ingredients to transform an amazing idea into a successful and independent company.

Learn more about the 3rd co-founder’s model on eFounders’ blog.

If you feel you’re the perfect CEO or CTO, visit https://efounders.workable.com/