The past year has been a rollercoaster in our world of entrepreneurship and tech, filled with its fair share of ups and downs.

Many think 2024 will be similar, but there are plenty of opportunities to be seized for those who have their eyes open, are ready for a challenge, and can move quickly.

Predicting the next big thing in an industry as fast-paced as ours is tricky. Nonetheless, we’ve put our heads together to share what we think 2024 has in store. These insights are based on an understanding of what's currently missing, what's ready to take center stage, and what innovations could change the game.

Let’s get to it!

🤖 AI

The AI revolution 2023 saw its beginnings in 2023 and is only set to intensify in 2024. At Hexa, we’re about to launch our first AI-first companies and have actively begun leveraging AI in our current ones.

1. New interfaces: The ‘chat’ format we know today, made famous by ChatGPT, is a primitive form of interface that has the merit of being easily accessible but does not allow for sophisticated tasks.

Just as an AI for an autonomous car would make absolutely no sense without the car attached to it, each AI needs a dedicated interface to realize its full value, which we will see more of in 2024. We need specific interfaces note-taking, writing, designing, drawing, organizing, selling, calculating, etc” - Thibaud Elzière, co-founder of Hexa

2. Specialization: The likes of ChatGPT are very demanding in terms of space and performance. AIs will be composed of much lighter and more specialized models. For example, we can envision a model to help create wireframes on Figma, or a model to translate medieval Germanic texts.

3.Enterprise AI: Consumers adopted GenAI in 2023, and professionals will do the same in 2024. “AI will change the way people handle their day-to-day tasks and change their current workflows to become more productive and focused on adding value. It’s the era of the enhanced employee.” - Florent Quinti, partner at Hexa

4. Digital twins: Just as social networking was the culmination of Web 2.0, the digital twin might be the culmination of the new AI era. This will be a longer evolution, but we could see the beginnings of it this year. “In a world where our presence is required in two places but we do not have the gift of ubiquity, a digital twin could write tweets, respond to emails, and more on our behalf” - Thibaud

5. Voice > keyboard: New AI-first mobile apps will increase the use of voice command, simplifying the execution of complex tasks for users.

“It could be the start of a new era for user experience as big as the invention of the mouse - imagine an ‘AppleGPT’ to command all your apps” - Florent

6. Live interpretation of languages: The world will get smaller as AI enables real-time translation. Soon, you'll chat in your language, and they'll hear theirs. “It will be a breakthrough not just in understanding each other, but in opening up cultures and doors to global interaction” - Thibaud

🚀 Startup building

The blueprint for creating successful companies will continue to shapeshift. The post-Covid era led to a noticeable complacency in execution among many companies. Despite significant adjustments over the last 18 months, we anticipate that companies will still focus heavily on their operating models in the coming quarters. Below are some changes we're keeping an eye on this year.

7. Leaner operations: Companies will continue to streamline, focusing on doing more with less, including people. Startups will rediscover that a lot can be done with small and efficient teams. Software will play a key role, providing tools that enhance efficiency and productivity. “Companies that adapt effectively will emerge stronger, with enhanced agility and resourcefulness” - Amaury Sepulchre, co-founder of Hexa

8. Stricter performance management: In the same vein, there will be a shift towards more rigorous performance management. Companies will set more stringent KPIs and accountability measures to ensure everyone is aligned and contributing effectively towards the company's goals.

9. Sharper focus on unit economics: Startups will increasingly focus on achieving better unit economics. This means pursuing larger deals, optimizing sales strategies, and ensuring that each part of their business is profitable and sustainable in the long term.

“’Is that campaign still bringing in the same results, or do we need to change it?’ ‘Are we still in the black even with our high costs?’ These are questions startups will increasingly be asking themselves” - Amaury

10. Broader market outreach: As client budgets tighten and the landscape shifts, B2B SaaS startups will venture beyond their usual client territory. Historically, many of these companies have served each other. These startups will move from the tech echo chamber to the ‘real economy”, to obtain a more diversified, resilient customer base.

11. Stabilization of revenue/retention: As these changes take place, startups will see revenue and customer retention stabilize to long-term averages. “A Net Revenue Retention (NRR) of 110-120% will become the new benchmark for top performance, marking a shift from the previous high (130-140%) and recent low (90-100%) periods, indicating a more mature, less volatile market” - Amaury

12. Result-based business models: There will be a shift from traditional software pricing models like "seats" or "usage" to AI-enabled, results-driven business models. Customers will prefer paying for tangible outcomes, pushing companies to demonstrate clear, measurable value directly tied to their software's impact on business goals.

“This could mean paying a marketing platform based on the additional leads generated rather than on the number of marketers with an account” - Matthieu Vaxelaire, Partner at eFounders (Hexa)

And certain industry-specific changes will affect where we focus our energy:

13. Health tech era: It’s tech’s moment to innovate healthcare. We will see more startups specialized in specific pathologies (dermatology, sleep apnea, etc) creating new care offerings from scratch. With services improving patient touch points, the collection of health data, and more, these new vertical-focused companies will help shift some of the pressure away from the in-person doctor’s consultation, to free up time in the healthcare system.

14. Web3 will make a comeback…: Bitcoin is up over 160% since the start of 2023, and the wider web3 world will feel the effects. It’s likely the early stages of a bull market, serving as a green light for investors, entrepreneurs, and consumers, ushering in a new flurry of activity.

15. …With a focus on web2 adoption: As infrastructure matures, there’s no need to own a wallet or understand blockchain technology to tap into the benefits. In 2024, mainstream applications will increasingly emerge that make the underlying technology invisible.

“'Universal accounts' will replace 'wallets,' and 'universal assets' will replace 'NFTs’, focusing on the benefits of ownership and interoperability over the technology." - Florent

💸 Funding

Many hopes are pinned on the upturn of the funding landscape in 2024, and there are early signs that things may be on an upward trajectory.

16. Selective investment in SaaS: Fundraising will become more challenging for SaaS startups offering only minor improvements, as investors increasingly favor those with radical, market-disrupting innovations. “Incremental SaaS will struggle to attract funds amid a saturated market, while radical SaaS, promising significant change and growth, will continue to draw the majority of investor interest” - Matthieu

17. Series A revival: There will be a resurgence of Series A funding rounds after almost two years of decline. However, securing these investments will require startups to demonstrate substantial, quantifiable growth, specifically over $2 million in ARR and over 2x year-over-year growth. “This marks a shift from funding based on potential and hype to a focus on concrete, proven business traction” - Amaury

18. Return of VC confidence: Over the last 18 months, VCs have mostly chased ‘safe’ investments, such as those with ‘hype’ topics and well-known founders. We believe they will progressively get back in touch with their instincts and convictions more this year, to start reinvesting in higher-risk deals.

“This change signifies a move away from the risk-averse, trend-driven strategies of 2023, encouraging a more diverse and potentially innovative investment landscape” - Amaury

19. IPO window reopening: Following a 2023 rally in tech stocks, the IPO window will gradually reopen starting in Q2/Q3 for a select few mature SaaS companies with annual revenues between $400-800 million. This shift signifies an improving market sentiment, allowing these substantial and well-established businesses an opportunity to go public.

As we move into 2024, the tech and entrepreneurship sectors are ripe with opportunity, but not without their challenges. We need to continue navigating the lingering uncertainties that accompany any period of rapid change, keeping our feet on the ground and eyes on the stars.

At Hexa, we’re doing just that. If you want to shape the future with us, whether as a co-founder or a team member, we're always looking for visionary people to join our team - find out more here.