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FAQ: What do we look for in founders?

Amaury Sepulchre
Amaury is co-founder and Managing Partner at Hexa. He has helped launch over 30 companies to date, specializing in investor relations, operations, and building teams. He is a board member of Spendesk, Swan, and Cycle, and is key to our on-the-ground operations and strategic direction at Hexa.

We're in the business of partnering with people for whom launching a company isn't just a choice, but a calling; people who will create their company one day, with or without us. After 40 companies, 80 founders, many resounding successes, a few failures, and a variety of outcomes in between, we’ve been around long enough to know that it’s what makes an exceptional founder.

Besides this drive, there are specific traits we value: mindsets, soft skills, and qualities we’ve seen fuel successful startups time and time again. These boil down to ambition, humility, and execution, which underpin our motto: “eyes on the stars, feet on the ground”. While there are always exceptions, they’re the attributes shared by many of our founders who have gone on to create some of Europe’s leading software companies. If you see yourself in them, let’s talk.

🔨 Execution

1. Creating, building, is what drives you

It's not just the project’s purpose that drives you. Of course, it’s important to believe in what you’re creating; but it’s owning that idea, taking charge, and bringing it to life, that gets you up in the morning. You're not just chasing profit or recognition. It's the thrill of making something from scratch, seeing your vision become real. When a problem pops up, you don't just throw in the towel, you figure it out. It's about making it happen, no matter what.

2. You’re ready to roll up your sleeves

Entrepreneurship isn't about sitting on a throne. In the early days, being a founder is often about handling the nuts and bolts, stuff you maybe didn’t consciously sign up for. There's no massive team to hand things off to; many times, that team is you. From tasks you love to those you'd rather avoid, you understand the importance of diving into every part of the company. It's about showing up, leading from the front, and getting things done.

3. You have a product mindset

Strategy is crucial, but the heart of a company is its product. As well as the big ideas, you also have a taste for the tangible, the specifics, the user experience. Once you have a product in mind, you’re already picturing what it might look like, working out how it'll function. Because you understand that a company's success starts with a product that resonates.

4. You feel comfortable making decisions quickly

Speedy decision-making is key. You have an innate ability to trust your instincts, understanding that perfect information is a rarity. This doesn't lead to reckless choices, but rather to informed risks. You're comfortable with the fact that not all decisions will be perfect, but you also know that inaction is often the bigger risk.

🔅 Humility

5. You have self-awareness, flaws included

Good entrepreneurs don't pretend to have all the answers. Instead, they know where they might fall short and aren't too proud to ask for help. Your ego doesn't drive the ship; the success of the company does. You know that being aware of your limitations is a strength, not a weakness. It means you're open to teaming up with others, pulling in their expertise to fill the gaps. For you, it's not about whose idea gets credit—it's about making sure the best ideas push the company forward.

6. You embrace feedback

Feedback isn't criticism in your eyes, it’s an opportunity. You understand that every piece of advice, every comment, is a chance to refine your idea and make it even better. Our model at Hexa is built on team entrepreneurship. The success of our startups stems from a rich pool of collective knowledge, with diverse insights and experiences contributing to its creation. As a founder, embracing this feedback is essential. It's not just about your individual vision but how that vision is honed and strengthened by the expertise around you.

7. You are resilient in the face of ‘failure’

You wear setbacks as badges of honor. For you, a failure isn't a dead end—it's feedback. It's an opportunity to learn, adjust, and come back stronger, making success that much sweeter because it often follows a challenge you've overcome. A stumble doesn’t define you, it refines you. Because of your good intuition, it’s impossible to regret your decisions too much anyway — you know you made the best decision with the information available at the time.

🚀 Ambition

8. You aim big, always

We're not here for the quick wins or fleeting trends. We're in it to build companies that make a mark, that set new standards, that reshape industries. And that requires a vision that doesn't cap off. Your ambition isn't just about making a quick buck; you're thinking legacy, scale, and impact.  You’re constantly opening new doors, one win leading to the next one.

9. You are inherently optimistic

Starting a company is risky, but you've got a deep-seated belief that things will come together. That doesn't mean you're naive; you're well aware of the bumps in the road. But your core is built on optimism. It's what pushes you to take risks, and it's what keeps you going even when things get tough. You're the type who sees challenges, acknowledges them, but believes with the right effort and attitude, you can overcome anything.

10. You know how to get people on board

Having a vision is great, but it's not worth much if you can't get others to see it and chase it with you. Being an entrepreneur is not just about building something; it's about building a team that believes in what you're doing too. You've got the people skills and infectious energy to not only talk about your dream, but to make it everyone's dream. You don’t just manage people, you rally everyone behind a shared purpose.

⏮️ In terms of background, maybe you’ve…

11. Already launched a company

Having taken a shot at entrepreneurship previously, you've gathered insights that can't be taught in a classroom. Even if things didn't pan out, that attempt shows your tenacity and spirit for innovation. We at Hexa don't see past ventures that didn't succeed as red flags. Instead, we recognize them as proof of your unwavering commitment to the entrepreneurial journey. It's this drive to get back on the horse, armed with learnings, that we admire and seek in our partners.

Example: Nicolas Benady, CEO and co-founder of Swan. Three-time entrepreneur, he launched two payment solution companies before joining Hexa.

12. OR worked mostly in the corporate/consulting world

Your time in the corporate or consultancy realm has granted you a unique vantage point. You've been understanding systems, processes, and what it takes to drive projects forward. While you might be more used to a high-level, strategic approach, that broad perspective can be invaluable in the start-up world. And if you're here, reading this, it suggests you've got that itch to 'do'—to translate big-picture thinking into tangible action. The ability to bridge the divide between strategy and execution can be a game-changer.

Example: Evan Testa, CEO and co-founder of Roundtable. Before joining Hexa, he worked as a consultant for Boston Consulting Group for seven years.

13. OR recently finished your studies

You might be newer to the professional scene, but your recent academic journey means you're up-to-date with the latest trends, theories, and tools. But more than the knowledge, it's your raw passion and untapped potential that stand out. Maybe you don’t have decades of experience under your belt, but you’re armed with fresh insights, an eagerness to learn, and a perspective uncolored by industry norms.

Example: Mathilde Collin, CEO and co-founder of Front. She joined Hexa in 2013, finishing her studies one year before.

❎ You don’t need…

14. Impressive credentials

Academic achievements can be great, but they aren't the be-all and end-all. More than where you went to school or what degree you have, it's your drive, real-world experience, and unique way of seeing things that matter. We value the richness that diverse perspectives and backgrounds bring to the table. So, whether you have a Master’s or don’t, if you've got the grit, intelligence, and entrepreneurial fire, it’s all the same to us.

15. An ‘in’ with us or know us personally

Forget the notion that it’s “who you know”, not “what you know”. At Hexa, it's all about who you are, what you bring to the table, and the value of your ideas. Your passion, dedication, and ability to turn concepts into reality are what catch our eye. Whether you’re a close friend or a complete stranger, we're listening. It's the person behind it that matters most to us.

16. Tons of experience in the industry you want to build in

You don’t have to be a long-standing expert in a specific sector to innovate within it. It can help, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes the most groundbreaking ideas come from those who don’t know an industry’s in’s and out’s down to a tee so that they can come at it with fresher eyes. What interests us is your ability to visualize a product, articulate its potential, and demonstrate a desire to bring it to life.

At Hexa, it's simple: we're on a mission to create world-class companies, and we believe the key lies in partnering with world-class people. Not those with all the credentials, but those with a burning fire to create. With their eyes on the stars, and feet on the ground.

When you join Hexa, you don’t just get support; you get a partnership. We're in it together, shoulder to shoulder, turning challenges into triumphs, giving you the best chance to make your company a great one.

If you resonate with what we’ve laid out, if you see yourself in those traits, then you're our kind of person. We're eager to meet our next founder, and it could very well be you.

Apply to create your company here.