You have a great startup idea; you believe in this idea, you live this idea. But, having an idea just doesn’t fit the bill anymore.
You may have a perfect business plan, investors willing to pay you, prospective customers waiting for your product, and you are an expert in marketing and sales. But, what about tech? You may have an excellent idea, but it would be challenging to launch a SaaS startup without tech experience. So you need someone to support the technical side of your startup.
Many entrepreneurs try to solve this by hiring freelance developers when they start a new business. But more often than not, this engagement does not work out as expected due to a variety of reasons. For example, if you do not have enough tech experience, it would be hard to interview and hire the right freelancer. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the importance of getting the first hire of your startup right. So, it’s important that you have a tech guy that has some skin in the game to stay motivated and be working at your best interests.
This article will guide you on the following points and will help you find the right technology partner for your business.
A tech co-founder is a partner who puts a significant amount of time and effort into the startup. In most cases, he/she would be someone available locally. It is one of the critical roles in a company. He or she is not just a programmer or an employee with some coding skills. You need a person with a mix of tech & business background, not a regular coder.
He/she can be responsible for:
- Product architecture
- Vetting and managing a development team
- Shaping the development strategy
- The project’s tech stack
- Dealing with customers
A tech co-founder can be:
They have the skills to see the full picture and have both business and tech backgrounds. CTO will be a much-evolved version of a senior developer. It is worth hiring one if you can afford a tech salary and are willing to share a fair amount of equity. Or you could hire a fractional CTO. He/she is sometimes referred to as a virtual CTO and may serve in a part-time or contracted capacity. Most startups don’t need a full-time CTO to handle strategy. In those situations, a fractional CTO will work extremely well.
One of the key benefits of keeping a fractional CTO is that they provide the same expertise and capability of a full-time CTO without the associated level of salary, benefits, and overhead expenses linked with adding a top-level executive.
You can hire a person with more than five years of programming experience (including managing a dev team), many completed projects, and who knows the industry.
Is a Tech Co-Founder Already
A person who is currently a co-founder would be the best. They have excellent skills in both programming and management but are more invested in the company. They have a voice in the company and are compensated with equity, or you may also need to pay their time and skills with salary.
A tech co-founder should be someone who believes in your vision and make sure that he/she has some skin in the game.
The technology partner is a bit different compared to an outsourcing team. They care about all the development processes- not just a contractor but also consider all business needs. An ideal tech partner helps you to build something scalable that grows with your startup. At NeoITO, we specialise in working with non-tech founders to understand the vision, guide them, and even invest in startups to have that skin in the game to make sure we put out the best product.
The Difference between a Tech Co-Founder and a Tech Partner
It should be clear now that a technical co-founder is a founding member of the company who has a share in the overall profit. They might not be the ones who have come up with the idea, but you have brought them in because they have the experience of bringing an idea to a product. It is because they have a strong track record of working with similar companies or pieces of technology that are integral to your business plan.
But, to develop a product, a tech co-founder alone cannot support you. It means; he/she can guide you with the strategies to build a successful product but still need to approach a team of developers to develop it. So, let me bring to your notice that you will have to hire a tech co-founder and also a team of developers, which can be costly.
Here comes the speciality of hiring a tech partner like us:
- We specialise in working with startup founders.
- We act as tech co-founder to help you choose the right set of technologies, and provide a team of tech experts with exposure to developing that type of product.
- We act as an investor if we believe in your excellent idea.
For instance, for a project that is worth 10,000$, we receive only half of the amount and consider the remaining half as an investment from our side. As we are very similar to a tech co-founder and invest in your idea, it becomes beneficial for us only if your product becomes successful. So, your product’s success is not only your priority but also ours. Thus, we intend to showcase our support for your idea by willingly investing in your product’s success.
What if You Don’t have a Tech guy?
As a startup, you will mostly be focusing on product development. For service level, you will have a technical co-founder because everything revolves around that. When it comes to product development, different stakeholders are involved in it. One of them will be providing business ideas, but may not know how to implement those ideas due to lack of technical knowledge. So, they outsource their product development.
One of the most common problems founders face when outsourcing is extended timelines.
For instance, your outsourcing team might demand extra time to complete their tasks as they approach their deadline. In such a situation, as a non-tech founder, you have no way of evaluating what they are saying. You don’t understand what is the real reason for the problem.
Most of the time, this common problem arises because a non-tech founder tries to manage the technical team. They are speaking two different languages then how can they ever communicate properly? Here, having a tech guy can help you understand the situation and can make decisions accordingly. With a tech guy by your side, you can well manage the tech team as well as concentrate on sales, marketing, and other non-tech processes.
Having a Tech Guy will Help You
- Know the right set of technologies that you should use in the project. It makes the project cost-effective, and the results will be optimal.
- Determine whether you get readily available team members to apply this set of technologies.
He/she can provide the client with an estimated delivery date.
He is responsible for planning the whole project. As it is a software development project, he determines:
- The time of the project’s first phase
- The software development plan
- The vendors that you should choose
- The platforms to be managed like project management tools are decided by him.
- He sets the hierarchy of the resources of the particular project and the organization structure.
What I want to convey is that, without having a technical mastermind, you will see a lack of proper structure in the development process. In that case, you won’t be able to deliver a successful product on time. It includes issues like loss of relationships, loss of profits, a lot of reputation, etc.
Now you understand how important it is to have a tech guy with you. If doubt still linger in your mind, take a look why technical co-founders are necessary for startups?
Where to Find a Co-founder or a Tech Partner for Your Startup?
The way to maintain a healthy co-founder relationship is to have a balanced relationship.
To find the right person, you need to spend a lot of time and effort. There are many things to check. It includes the co-founder’s portfolio, expertise in business, and communication skills.
You can find them through social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., and platforms like Upwork. It is always good to find a person who is active on social media sites. His connections (with experience) will help you get more resources that can benefit your product development. So, here are some other favoured ways to help you find the right person.
Check out how to find the right Outsourcing Partner for Your Startup.
You can start with people you already know. It can be your colleagues, school or university pals, or even family members. The chances are many that you will find the right person among these. So, if you have a vast network of people on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, it’s time to look through your contacts.
If you don’t have a broad network, it’s time to correct this. You need that social presence soon.
Don’t go straight for a best friend or family member. Even if they could be an option, your main priority should be to find somebody who will help your business excel.
There might be a lot of networking events locally or even some virtual hosted events you can attend. For more, read our blog on the 10 best ways to start a tech startup as a non-technical person.
Hackathons and Conferences
Hackathons are your best friends if you want to meet real people, meetups, or events. You can see how they communicate, how they solve tech-related challenges and know whether you match them personally.
If you are okay working with younger specialists, try to attend university events. You can find students with sufficient tech backgrounds to work on your project.
They may not have the experience, but they are loyal, passionate, and hard-working.
Startup Incubators or Accelerators
Incubators such as Y Combinator and 500 Startups help startuppers find similar-minded (but not too similar) people and raise investments. They take inexperienced startuppers with excellent ideas and convert them into mature entrepreneurs- in exchange for less equity.
Suggested read: Raising Startup Investment: Finding Right Investors & Alternative Fundings.
If you are looking for a technology partner online, platforms like Co-foundersLab, Angelist, Founders Nation, and Upwork can help you.
Connect to the tech experts!
How Do You know They are the Right Fit?
Before choosing one, always consider your requirements.
- Make roles clear: When you find a startup partner, make sure you define the roles clearly. You’ll have to be sure of the responsibilities that you want him/her to handle that’ll help propel your business forward. Always listen to what your partner has to say; they are your co-founder for a reason so that they can put input into major decisions.
- You and your partner can’t be too similar: Yes, that’s true! You want your partner to be somewhat different. It adds flexibility to your business. If you are better at people management, you can do that, and if your partner is good at presentations, he/she can control that.
In fact, you need a variety of qualities in your team. It is even more versatile if it is more than just you two.
- Your vision: Since you and your co-founder should be somewhat different, your vision should certainly align in a business sense. If your visions vary, it can be hard to maintain your relationship in the long term. The person you need to work with should share the same goals and passions as yourself. It makes things more manageable over time.
- You need someone with dedication: You require somebody who will dedicate their valuable time to the business. That particular person should show up on time and put in 100% at all times. You both need to follow this as you are doing this together.
Why Does it Make Sense to have a Tech Partner?
As you are a startup, it is useful to have a technical co-founder. It has its own benefits, but it may sometimes be difficult to find the right fit. And if you find one, they won’t come cheap.
Even if you have a tech co-founder, you will need a development team to develop your product. So, you need to hire a tech partner with a skilled team of developers.
Since you are a startup, hiring a tech partner is more affordable than hiring an in-house team. We act as a tech co-founders and let you know the right set of technologies to be applied to develop a successful product. In that case, you don’t have to hire a tech co-founder separately for this purpose.
As I said earlier, we, as a technology partner, are more than just an outsourcing team. So, delivering a successful product is not only your priority but also ours.
Take a look at the 7 Vital Steps to Finding a Trustworthy Partner to Outsource Web Development.
If your need is to quickly turn around a high-quality, innovative product, finding a tech partner for your startup can benefit you in many ways. The team will have the experience and knowledge to lead the project without a lot of hand-holding. So you can focus on things like sales, user acquisition, fundraising, business development, and other non-technical aspects.
So, if you are looking for a technology partner for your startup, then search no more! NeoITO will be responsible for building your whole product cost-effectively from A to Z with better quality. We always hire developers or consultants on a particular project who are capable of doing or have experience in it. Starting from the lead, we provide resources with exposure to developing that type of product. It is because we always strive to deliver a successful product.
To build it smart from the start, hire smart from the beginning!