France welcomes four new startups made in eFounders, this Thursday October 1st. The startup studio, which benefits from a model alongside accelerators and investors, has just made its comeback. He unveils four new ideas that will take shape within twelve to eighteen months, aimed at operational autonomy. An announcement at a time of uncertainty between the health crisis and returns from investors that has “No more correlation”, as its co-founder, Thibaud Elzière supplied.
The four boxes that join the adventure are called “Canyon”, “Kairn” and “Crew”, a long way from the 50 to 100 starts of an accelerator (eFounders prefers to characterize the studio profession as a craft profession) “And “Collective.” When “Collective” takes advantage of the trend to bring freelance workers together, “Canyon” wants to dust off the aging tools of the legal profession. At the same time, “Kairn” helps us take notes, and tomorrow’s recruiting will be done through “Crew”.
Lemon Press: On October 1st, eFounders will present the selection of new studio startups for 2020. Can you explain how the selection went? Do startups only come from internal ideas? Are these ideas directly related to the current context or do they go back a little longer?
Thibaud Elzière: Three of our startups this year are internal projects. They come from ideas that we have had for a long time and whose events over the past six months have accelerated the issues and urged us to make them concrete. The fourth, Canyon, is an external idea presented to us by two entrepreneurs.
We therefore have three topics that we have been dealing with for a long time: digitization in companies, new productivity tools – especially working in Remote control – and new ways of working: how to recruit, manage and pay.
Kairn is focused on new productivity tools. At Crew, we believe that the method of recruiting for ten years and the current tools are no longer able to respond to the problems of the job market. Collective looks exactly at this job market and is an exercise for us to project the explosion of the job market self-employed. It is believed that what will triumph in the future will be the collectives of freelancer Who will come together to work together and complete missions? We want to create the platform for this.
Lemon Squeezer: Just like Canyon, a project that was born independently eFounders, do you intend to open spontaneous applications from entrepreneurs? If so, how can we be approached by the startup studio?
Thibaud Elzière: At eFounders, entrepreneurs come to us all day. We start a discussion and they talk to us about their ideas. If we think the idea is good, that it arrives early enough (we’re supposed to be co-founders, not investors) and that it falls within our area of expertise, then we’ll make the box with you.
When we think we have a better idea, we put it up and try to get the entrepreneur to work with us. Historically, we started with projects that came from our own ideas. Of the 25 startups that we launched, 3 are external ideas. However, we have never been closed to the ideas of entrepreneurs who come with their ideas.
The only condition is that we arrive as co-founders, with all operational investments in the project and not just with the financing. If you have a box early point in time and you are looking for an investor, today there are many interesting alternatives on the market to raise money.
PC: Last year eFounders decided to start 6 startups. Was there a smaller selection required this year? Has the health crisis changed the game of finding new entrepreneurs – and new projects?
TE: In all honesty, on the eFounders side, we weren’t affected at all. The situation has not changed the situation for the startup studio. Our startups were generally positively affected by the crisis, as they develop products for the digitization of companies and for teleworking.
These are very ambitious projects that will take away a lot of our resources
There are years in which we leave six startups and four others. It really depends on the ideas we have, the energy and resources that are available to us, and the correspondence we have between entrepreneurs and ideas. Our job is very manual, we set up startups over time, depending on the ideas and personalities we meet. We will never try to start batches of 50 or 100 startups like accelerators.
It turns out that there are four of them this year. But here we have four big issues. These are very ambitious projects that will consume a lot of resources.
PC: How has investor appetite changed over the past 12 months? Given the uncertainties about economic recovery, are startups struggling to finance themselves? Are certain topics preferred? Are others more affected?
TE: I will be speaking to both my eFounders co-founder and business angel hats. In the beginning there was a lot of concern. In March, April and May, people were scared and investors slowed down. Given the conditions, the entrepreneurs no longer wanted to raise. This has particularly affected mature companies that have employees and cannot really wait several months if they need funding.
Since May I have been unable to establish a connection between what we live about health rules in our private lives, the economic crisis, what we can read in the newspapers and what happens when we raise funds. We are honestly back to the pre-COVID situation. There is the same intensity, the same values and the same belief in the future, right or wrong, the future will tell us.
We are honestly back to the pre-COVID situation
Obviously, I have this vision in relation to companies in the world of SaaS and software that are actually less affected by the health crisis than others. The fields are particularly affected in the hotel, catering, tourism and transport sectors.
PC: One year after your selection, what is the program for the 6 startups of batch 2019 at the end of the year? Are they becoming autonomous or do they need more time with the current context?
TE: During operation, all starts of the last batch are completely autonomous. Our five internal eFounders startups: Cycle, Folk, Once, Bonjour and Swan have collected donations and are now autonomous. The same goes for YouSign, the startup we were involved in, but which has been around for four years. She was a hit while in custody.
All starts of the last batch are completely autonomous
PC: In addition to announcing the four new startups supported by eFounders, you mentioned the new ideas for 2021 in a press release. They particularly concern tools for productivity at work. FinTech with Swan, is it over? Should this be seen as a gradual abandonment of diversification?
TE: We live with the seasons. In 2018 and 2019 we had a kind of financial tropism with startups like Equify, Swan, Spendesk or Upflow. We saw a lot of opportunities there. Today we believe that there is a revival and explosion of productivity tools and that something is happening. It’s time to reinvent new tools. Word is just the digital representation of paper and pencil. Excel is just the representation of the accounting book … A new wave of productivity is building up and we want to participate.
It’s time to reinvent the new tools
Then we use software like our new legaltech Canyon and our collective marketplace to show that we have not forgotten diversification. But yes, this year we have a productivity-oriented tropism because we think we have something to do there. But we’re not putting up any barriers for the 2021 batch, where we’ve started to unveil our ideas. Fintech, marketplaces, software, but also hardware, everything is possible.
PC: Thibaud, we had the opportunity to talk to each other a year ago. They told us about the ultimate goal of reinvesting the money from startups founded as a true investor. Where is the project this year?
TE: Indeed. In addition to the boxes we create, we think about the boxes around us that are already a few years old that we could take back for restoration. We did it with YouSign and it’s a discussion right now. We are looking for these companies and have already identified goals that we are currently validating. It’s definitely on the agenda.