A start-up signifies new beginnings.
The new beginning of an entrepreneurial journey, new job opportunities, and new prospects for the consumer marketplace. And well begun is half done, isn't it?
To ensure that the new beginning of your startup is indeed well begun, you need to make sure that your foundations are strong. In a nutshell, this is why you need at least one co-founder in your startup with a technical background. Read on to fully understand “why it is crucial to have at least one technical co-founder for your startup business”.
There is no denying the fact that technology is all around us, and has seeped into our daily tasks in one way or the other. Before you protest, think back to that YouTube video you downloaded for a new recipe. Technology has also found its way into the commercial sector. Almost every business startup these days has a base in technology.
Even if you only want to start a simple restaurant or a cosy bed and breakfast in a quaint little town, you will still need to build an application to make your business operations smoother as you start scaling up.
Now that we have established how every successful business will have technology running through its veins. Let’s consider the importance of a technical co-founder to keep said technology from giving your business clogged arteries.
Table of Contents
Difference between a Co-founder and a Technical Co-founder
- The Yin to Your Yang
- Knowing Your Business
- Going Online Effortlessly
- Independent of External Stakeholders
- Handle the Technical Aspects
- Keep with the Growing Technology
- Meeting with Technical Teams
- Builds Faith in Investor
So, what’s the difference between a co-founder and a technical co-founder?
If you decide to set up a business with a bunch of your friends one fine day, then it makes each one of you a co-founder. Every single one of you is an equal stakeholder in setting up your startup and directing its growth.
Now, a technical co-founder is also someone who shares founder-level responsibilities such as setting a long-term mission and vision for your startup and strategising ways to scale up. What sets them apart from a non-technical co-founder is their role in handling the technical sides of your business.
While you may be the dreamer, it is always important to have an analytical thinker in your core team of founders. The reason is, having a brilliant idea is simply not enough to build a startup empire.
In addition to bringing in a splash of innovation and creativity, you also need to analyse the practical and technical aspects of the startup idea so that you can turn your dream into reality. And a great co-founder will shoulder those Herculean responsibilities so that you can plan the future of your business in peace.
Easy enough to understand, right? Let’s take a clear look at how a technical co-founder for your startup can make your life much easier in the long run.
1. They will Be the Yin to Your Yang
Just as everything in the universe is perfectly balanced, so must the intricate workings of your startup be in perfect harmony with each other for it to be successful and sustainable as time progresses. There must be lots of new ideas, wild tangents of innovative strategies, and new campaigns to establish your startup. It would require creative thinking and lots of it, which in essence emanates from the chaos in our brains. Consider this the Yang for your startup.
Now, you need the Yin to balance out the chaotic mess of brilliance you have created around your product or service idea. Here is where your technical co-founder steps in and quickly takes matters into their own hands. They will be trained problem solvers who will help you move from the ideation phase to the development phase much more quickly and efficiently.
They not only help you overcome seemingly complex obstacles with effective and easy-to-implement solutions, but will also play a huge part in the iteration process of developing your product or service.
This way, at the end of the whole process, you will be able to put your best foot forward and roll out the most polished version of your product or service to the public domain. In short, you will be able to create a balanced offering that will appeal to a wider range of audiences if you have a technical co-founder with you in your brainstorming sessions.
2. They will Know Your Business Inside and Out
A technical co-founder will have his finger in every pie baked by every team in your startup because that is part of their job description. They will know the inner mechanisms that keep your business running, in addition to the exterior facade that the outside world sees.
It means that they can also assist you in a consulting capacity, offering valuable feedback and suggestions to improve your business operations and, consequently, your final offering.
Having a technical co-founder who knows your business thoroughly also has other practical advantages. They can be your go-to for pitch presentations to impress and persuade investors to decide on future action plans to grow your business in different verticals. And even to chalk out mergers and potential partnerships with other businesses.
You can trust them to make wise decisions on behalf of your business as they will have all the data required to make crucial decisions at the tip of their fingers, they are your business partner after all.
3. They Can Make the Offline to Online Transition Seamless for Your Business
Let’s say you set up a cute cafe, and you make the best butter buns in town. Everyone who heard of your offering wants to try it, but there are limitations to the number of people you can serve at your cafe’s physical location.
But, as long as you can meet the daily requirements of your consumers, all you need is a mobile application for your business. You can make your services even more valued by letting customers opt for a safe and touch-free home delivery.
Heads up: your startup just crossed over to the technical side!
You now need to hire a mobile application development team to build you the perfect app to connect with your customers.
Does technology research, wireframe building, data migration, hosting server configurations, architecture development, implementation planning, and resource allocation among the technical team keeping their skill sets and potential in mind - sounds complicated?
Maybe even a little confusing and slightly overwhelming?
You won’t have to worry about having more than a cursory idea of what these terms and processes entail if you have a technical co-founder to oversee the technical aspects of your business. They’ll handle the technical end while you decide whether cinnamon will improve the taste of your buns or not.
4. Your Business Processes will be Independent of External Stakeholders
Your startup needs to be able to stand on its own feet, even in your absence. There might be times when you need to take a few days or even weeks off for a nice vacation to clear your head. Or maybe you get called away on an important business trip.
Either way, you will need to ensure that someone takes over the fort and runs your business operations smoothly until you’re ready to return and take the reins. And an ideal co-founder will be the type of person who springs into action.
Let us tell you why in simple terms:
You can outsource pretty much any task to external entities, including the technical aspects, so why bother making a technical resource a co-founder, right? Right and Wrong. You can definitely outsource the responsibilities handled by a technical co-founder, but vendors change all the time when you outsource.
And these temporary resources will not be very invested in your business in the long run. You need someone who is passionate about your startup and has been consistent since day one.
5. They Can Handle the Technical Aspects Effortlessly
Yes, you need someone to do the boring stuff. Fortunately, a technical co-founder won’t find the technical stuff boring, so they will definitely bring passion to tasks that you find tedious. This could include heading technical activities and checking the progress of the technical team regularly. In a way, a technical co-founder is a crucial connecting link between technical and non-technical teams, as they speak the language of both teams.
They will also delegate work to the technical team in a judicious manner and hold review meetings about technology that you don’t understand. Picture sitting through half an hour of technical jargon that goes over your head.
And having to do the research to understand the exchange of technical ideas that take place in these scrums so you can at least try to keep up the next day. Now picture doing this every single day. Having a technical co-founder is starting to sound really good now, isn't it?
6. Technology is Evolving Even as You Read This
Have you ever heard of the Hydra, a famous many-headed serpentine aquatic monster of Greek and Roman mythology?
The Lernaean Hydra, whose annihilation was one of Hercules’ famous tasks, is said to have been a fearsome monster that sprouted two new heads every time you cut off one of its deadly heads.
Technology these days is eerily reminiscent of the Hydra. Every time you think you have mastered something technologically new, two more novel technological concepts come up to take their place, and you have to start all over again.
And you need to keep abreast of these technological developments if you are to gain an edge over your competitors. If you’re technologically inclined, this is not an issue as you'll probably really enjoy the continuous learning process. It will, however, become quite a task to keep up with changing technology if your interests lie outside the realm of codes and gadgets.
The Herculean task of keeping up with changing technology will be handled by your technical co-founder, leaving you free to tend to other business aspects.
Now, you’re finally getting it, aren't you?
7. No One Can Take You for a Ride Easily
Just because you are unfamiliar with the technical side of running a business does not mean you should present yourself as an easy target for those seeking to hoodwink you for their benefits. This could be an external vendor trying to pitch to your business or even a lazy teammate who is trying to get by on minimal work.
As someone from a non-technical background, it might make you feel lost in a technology-centric discussion, especially if the presenter does not care to explain the details in layman's terms. Confused and overwhelmed, you just might make a wrong decision on the spur of the moment, which can have lasting consequences for your startup.
A technical co-founder can save your skin here. You just sit back and relax and as your tech partner analyse what’s best for your business in terms of technology or any related technical matters. They will find it easy to communicate with a specialised team or vendor and relay the same information to you in simplified terms.
8. It Builds Investor Faith in Your Idea
Fundraising might be the hardest thing you will have to do to build up your startup company unless you already have the capital required to kick start your business. Or a trust fund, whichever you have easy access to. But if you don’t have access to liquid cash, a fundraiser is definitely a prerequisite. So, perfecting your investor pitch is very important.
Check the 17 vital factors venture capitalists evaluate when deciding to invest in your startup.
Investors are also more likely to be convinced that your startup idea is worth investing in when they know that you have a technical co-founder. If you see the investor as a farmer with eggs (money) to invest in your business (the metaphorical basket), your co-founder would be the solid foundation on which your basket rests.
To an investor who sees the world in terms of profits and losses, it would be pretty risky to put all his eggs in a basket that isn't even kept on solid ground. Having a technical co-founder on your side will increase the investor’s trust in you and his faith in your idea.
There are no two ways of looking at it: it is vital to have a technical co-founder for your startup. Not only will these startup co-founders be able to help you simplify the operational and financial aspects of building your startup, but they will also be valuable assets when it comes to scaling up your startup.
So, if you are ready to build or scale your product, your technical co-founder will also help you collaborate smoothly with a proven app development company such as NeoITO. Or, in case if you still find difficulty finding a tech co-founder, NeoITO can act as one and help you choose the right set of technologies and provide a team of tech experts to develop your particular product.
1.Does my startup need a tech co- founder ?
The answer to this question varies according to the person you’re asking it. If you are someone who can handle both the technological and the business side of the company well, then you wouldn't need one. But if your talents only concentrate on the business part of things, a tech co-founder will be a huge asset.
Look at Apple for instance, Jobs was an entrepreneur and Wozniak was his tech wiz.
2. What does a technical co-founder contribute to the startup?
A technical co-founder is someone who is vested in the improvement in the technological side of the company. They share the same vision for the product and contribute whatever they can in the form of technological advice and improvements in the product.
A tech co-founder can act as a person in charge during the absence of the significant other and they would be very helpful in the times of technological conversations. A tech co-founder can often attract investment interests based on his capabilities.
3.What should we look for in a technical co-founder?
A tech co-founder should know tech like the back of his hand. Of course, knowledge is an important trait but there's one more thing you have to look out for, that is a like-minded visionary. A person who understands your visions and is willing to stick by you even when things get tough is the co-founder you want.
If you look into HP, you can see as co-founders Hewlett and Packard always had each other’s back, when Hewlett went to serve in the army Packard took care of the business.
4. What happens if you don't have a technical co-founder?
It is not a rule carved in stone that you need a technical co-founder. You can do it yourself or hire a CTO (chief technology officer). But if you are a person who knows very little about the technology then a technical co-founder can be a catalyst in your startup success.
Hiring a CTO in your startup phase is a risky move and the tech co-founder rectifies that problem.
If you don't have a technical co-founder and you end up in the middle of technological conversations, you would be between a rock and a hard place and these kinds of conversations are quite common during meetings.
Other than that if there's a problem with your software you would have to avail outside help and that will set you back. You may have heard that 3 out of 4 startups fail within the first year. Having a potential co-founder can help you avoid being a failed startup.
5. Where can I find a technical co-founder?
When your startup is in the initial stages, the most effective way to find a technical co-founder is through networking. Skim through the people you know, choose a person who could understand your vision and go talk to them.
Facebook initially had 5 co-founders and all of them were Harvard colleagues. Knowing the right people and the willingness to search for the people to seek help is the way to find your perfect technical co-founder.
Want to know more about how to find one?
Check out our blog on how to find a technical co-founder or tech partner for your startup.