In 2011, Hashem founded DE-DE (short for Design & Develop), a New York-based studio that combines software and marketing skills to build digital products. The company was capitalized with an investment from Droga5.
The model of DE-DE was much like a "Hollywood studio for startups". DE-DE would use limited capital, talent and resources to "executive produce" new ideas with "product directors" leading each. The model is designed to build multiple early prototypes and products that have potential of becoming startup businesses of their own. Products would either be spun out as new companies, sold to third parties or shelved.
As CEO of DE-DE, Hashem led a 12-person engineering, design and product team across several ventures. The company's first product, a tool to amplify social media called Thunderclap, grew to 2 million unique users per month and spun out as a separate startup and team that has become profitable.
Hashem created financial value for DE-DE and its investor by closing an acquisition of another of the company's products, a visual mail app for iPad called Birdseye. The product was acquired by Russian technology giant Yandex for $4 million — an 8X return on investment.
DE-DE, and its parent company Droga5, were both acquired by William Morris Endeavor.
We benefited greatly from the advice and consultation of the team at Prehype.