Startup Studios

Building out a Studio EIR Pipeline

An interview with the founders of Builders studio

An interview with the founders of Builders studio

by: Steve Hayton |

February 8, 2023

Estimated Reading Time:
Articles | Startup Studios | Building out a Studio EIR Pipeline

In a recent community call with Builders studio, members heard from founders Sharon Klaver and Michael van Lier about how they’ve built out their EIR pipeline. Here are the highlights from the point of view of Sharon:

“Building a pipeline for Builders is a bit different than I think for most. We’re not just going out and recruiting new EIRs, we’re conducting research to find them. We’ll do thorough trend research on the verticals we’re interested in (the future of work and living) for our studio. We’ll then figure out among these trends what business opportunities we really like. For example, we really like employee engagement in the future of work. We then publish articles about the subject and this allows for two things to happen. First, engagement with the content helps us find experts, it’s like the start of a head-hunting phase. Second, we also get inbound inquiries from the articles and the associated job description that we also publish. We also complement this process using LinkedIn ads to make sure the right people can find us.”

In addition to being a subject matter expert, what sort of people are you looking for?

“It’s important to keep in mind that we’re looking for a partner, a co-founder, someone that’s going to be with us for a number of years, not an employee. This person could be a serial entrepreneur or a second-time founder. It could be a second in command, like a COO, or someone in the product manager role that’s already building a product, has a team, and wants to start building a company of their own, but is used to a bigger support network and having people around them. A studio would fit really well because you’re cofounding these companies together.”

How many potential people are you talking with before you actually give an offer?

“Our Head of Talent will have a 45-minute recruitment call with at least 100 people before we find the perfect fit. After this process, the candidate then moves on to the next stage which is a 60-minute interview to check their behavioral profile and their experience so far. This includes a psychometric test and some work toward their personal pitch. The pitch is another 60-minute presentation with myself and Sharon, if they check all the boxes then we move to the stage where we discuss all the terms and that is the hardest part. This whole process takes 45 days on average.”

What does the vetting process look like? 

“We like to use psychometric tests to give an indication as to where we and the candidate click, it helps us work out where this person gets their energy from. The first ten to 20 weeks are just the EIR and some of our resources validating problems and solutions. If during that time, it’s really hard for you to pick up the phone then it’s really hard for you to do the work, and you’re going to have a rough time. That’s why we look for specific qualities because, in the first 20 weeks, this makes or breaks a good relationship with the EIR.”

How many EIRS do you work with at a given time and what level of support do you give them? 

“We work with a mix of two EIRs at the same time. In the beginning, they only receive limited support from me and Michael, they don’t get support from the core team. At this time they’ll focus on doing the ideation and validation with regular check-ins with us. Our support will include things like helping them find the right leads to talk to. As soon as they pass two gauges within our stage-gate model, then they get the support of our core team, this can only happen after validation.” 

What advice would you give MDs that running their pipeline themselves?

“Set up a good system where you can automate as much as possible. This is one of the most important things, for example, one of the rules to join us is that you need to be able to work in Europe. If you can’t, then you’ll get a response saying that we can’t hire you. There are many of these things which you can automate away so that you don’t have to look at all those incoming leads.”

“If you feel like you have a good candidate, respond to them as soon as possible. Make sure you’re fast with all your communication and that you draft the entire journey for yourself so that you have a proper overview of every step in the funnel.”

“Have standardized questions so that you can make a comparison of profiles later on. Score the profiles in each phase of the funnel so that when it’s time to make a decision you can do it based on data.”

“Overall, when you’re building an EIR pipeline, it’s about making sure that you have proof that your studio can actually build new companies. Showing traction is critical, it’s more than just the process. If you can show some proof then that will make working the top of the funnel much easier. It’s also important to remember that once you get a good EIR, show them off, and how they’re doing. This helps highlight the process and generate some momentum for your funnel.”

Go Deeper

Members can watch the replay of our recent community call on Building a Bulletproof EIR Pipeline with Michael and Sharon from Builders.

Watch Replay

Builders combines technology and entrepreneurship to craft outstanding software companies that outlast the hype and create real value. They partner with seasoned founders to transform ideas into powerful software solutions. Together they shape the future of work and living to accelerate human capital, locally and around the globe.

How they operate
Builders give the venture building model their own twist, all about minimizing risk and maximizing human potential. They put substantial effort into identifying the most promising business opportunities. Through interactions with market experts, they gather deep insights into select markets. Once they have enough conviction about an opportunity, they partner with seasoned entrepreneurs to create the perfect founder product fit.

What they do
They have decades of experience building software companies. Their team of executives and operators supports their ventures with what they need, whenever they need it — from operational support to investment capital. They manage everything needed to let their co-founders focus on building the product and executing sales. A selection of the things they support includes; company formation, product management, branding, growth, operations, and talent.


SaaS, Software


, Rotterdam,