Business skills and technical skills - these are the two crucial skills required by any startup or young firm to succeed. While the founder or entrepreneur brings the business skills to the table, technical skills usually get missed from the founding team.
Most startups find themselves lost during the development phase, especially when they have a tech-based product. They find themselves lacking the technical skills required to assess and choose the right technology, build and manage the tech teams, or get validation for their startup product idea. This is where they tend to feel the need to hire a technical co-founder, a technology partner, or a CTO for their startup.
But who exactly is a technical co-founder?
Why do startups need one?
And most importantly, where and how do they find these technical experts for their startup?
Fret not! We’ve got you covered.
This write-up covers each question any startup can have about finding and hiring a technical co-founder, a CTO, or a technology partner.
Who is a Technical Co-founder?
A technical co-founder is a person who has their interests vested in the startup's growth and business vision. This person brings the technical skills required in building, launching, monitoring, and scaling the product. They handle the tech teams, take care of the development process, select the right technology, and even manage the complete set-up of IT infrastructure for the development of the product.
For any startup, there can be different ways a startup can find a technical co-founder. They can either hire a Chief Technical Officer aka CTO, join hands with a software development company, or find a co-founder with a technology background. This person comes with technical expertise and manages founder-level responsibility in the startup.
There are four ways in which a startup can find a technical co-founder. These are discussed below:
Chief Technical Officer aka CTO
This is the person who is hired as the technical head of the startup. This is a paid position and the person hired as the CTO is driven to drive the startup to new heights in terms of technical accomplishments. They handle team building and strategizing technical processes to get the product launched faster. They usually take a moderate part of the startup equity.
With the same skills required in a CTO, a technical co-founder is only different from a CTO in the sense that they are more deeply invested in the startup. They are hired as a partner in the startup rather than an employee. They are also responsible to choose the right direction for the startup and their business vision to help the startup grow. They usually bag around 50% of the startup’s equity.
The next person a startup can hire when looking for technical assistance in their team is a senior programmer. For a small startup, hiring a senior programmer could be a great step to avoid giving up large equity. They come with years of experience and can easily manage the teams while ensuring technical processes go seamlessly. You need to offer them a moderate salary and around 5% shares in equity.
A technology partner is an offshore software development company that you join hands with to build your product. You can either hire them to get end-to-end product development or build your remote product team with them. They act as a startup solution provider and will take care of all aspects of the development from ideation to research to MVP development to complete product development and its marketing and launch. They work for the project and can also be a part of your growth strategy.
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Job Description Of A Technical Co-Founder
There is always a job description for any role that you are looking for in your team. However, how do you describe the role of someone who will become a founding member of your startup product? While you cannot sum up the actual qualifications of a technical co-founder, here are the main requirements that a technical co-founder should fulfill:
Technical Expertise: This one goes without saying. When you are hiring a technical co-founder, it is a given that you expect them to come with deep technical expertise. With so many libraries, frameworks, and advancing techs coming forward, the technical co-founder should be able to quickly tell each one’s pros and cons and when to use which technology. They will help the startup choose the best tech stack.
10+ Years Of Experience: Most startups come with little to no experience. However, the technical co-founder they hire for their young firm should make up for the missing experience. You should always look for the experience of the co-founder, be it a CTO, a software development company, or any other technology expert. Their experience would help the startup take smart steps while building the product.
Communication Skills: The technical co-founder that you hire would also be in charge of handling and managing your technical teams. So, it is important that in addition to tech expertise, the person has great communication skills. And not just the technical communication with the tech teams, the co-founder should also be seamless in conversing, discussing, and/or explaining stuff to non-technical teams.
Team Management Skills: Just expertise and technical skills wouldn’t be enough to make a great technical co-founder. They should also have team management skills to get work done from the technical teams working on building your startup product. They should also have the capability to keep the startup product teams motivated to work with their highest potential.
Large Tech Network: A startup team isn’t just about the founder and the technical co-founder. It is about the tech team. You should look for a technical co-founder that has a great network. This would mean that they could bring in their trusted tech experts on board to make building the tech team easier.
Why Do Startups Need A Technical Co-founder?
There is a lot of debate in the startup community about whether or not to hire a technical co-founder for the startup product. Several startups swing between the idea of getting a technical co-founder and managing everything on their own. However, this might make the startup come out as a loner.
For example, if you are going for a funding pitch without a tech co-founder would give a wrong impression - you might come out as greedy, not a team player, control freak, and whatnot. But this isn’t the only reason to hire a technical co-founder or technical partner for your startup. Here, we have highlighted some valid reasons why most startups go for a tech co-founder. Let’s find out.
Because You Lack Technical Expertise
Most product startups go for a technical co-founder, a CTO, or a technology partner because the sole founder doesn’t have the required technical expertise. For any entrepreneur with a breakthrough idea for the tech world, the biggest challenge is to bring the idea into a reality. With a technical co-founder, you get an in-depth understanding of the techno world and which technology would be suitable for the product. The person or software company you hire as your technical co-founder will expose you to a treasure trove of technical knowledge, enriching your product in the process.
Because You Need Validation For Your Startup Product Idea
Most entrepreneurs have an idea but aren’t able to validate it in the real techno world. This is where a technical co-founder will step in. A technical co-founder can come into the team and enable you to validate your product idea. They can provide the required research with their team and ensure your idea is tested before you move ahead with the development.
Because You Want To Scale Your Startup Product
For startups that have the tech expertise to launch the initial product, the need for a technical co-founder arises when they start scaling or growing. For the entrepreneur or the product founder, juggling between handling the core competencies, managing the objectives, and ensuring seamless scaling could be tiresome. To avoid any hindrance during the scaling of the product, it is imperative that they join hands with a technical co-founder. They have the expertise and can assist you in knowing which feature to launch first during the scaling or which market to target.
Because You Want To Draw Up The Tech Stack
The next important reason why so many startups start looking for a technical co-founder is that they want to draw up their tech stack. The world of technology keeps evolving and the technology that is deemed latest today might become obsolete within a few months. New versions, patches, and frameworks are launched to advance any technology. Startups need to ensure their products are powered by the latest tech. A technical co-founder comes with the knowledge of state-of-the-art technologies, technology trends, and other things to help you draw up your tech stack. With their help, you can quickly understand which technology needs update and which new technology would be best suited for the product.
Because You Want A Long-Term Partner
Startups have the option to hire a tech expert to fulfill their technology needs, yet they look for a technical co-founder. Why? This is simply because they want a long-term partner with whom they can scale their product. A technology expert could be hired for a particular task but a technical co-founder will assist in several other aspects. If you are outsourcing product development or building a remote technical team, the technical co-founder would assist the cooperation. Moreover, they would know the product in and out as they’ll solely involved in your product.
How To Find A Technical Co-Founder?
A technical co-founder plays a crucial role in any startup’s success. No wonder startup unicorns have adopted the approach of having a tech co-founder right from the initial phase. Despite acknowledging the need and
So, what do you do when you see the need to hire a co-founder to handle all the technical work for your young firm? You hire a technical co-founder. But how?
Let’s find out.
Create your Startup Pitch
The first thing to do when looking for a technical co-founder is to create a pitch for your startup that you will use to entice the co-founder. The role of a co-founder is not like any normal hiring. As much as you want to assess the person, they also need to have an excitement about your product idea. You need to create a win worthy pitch for your startup. Good CTOs and technical co-founders will have several offers at hand. You need to pitch them in a way that they choose you. List out everything they will gain from your startup, the vision you have challenges the role may bring, achievements, and of course the shares in the equity they will get to get the best ones on board.
Start With Partnership First
Instead of directly approaching someone for the role of your technical co-founder, you should give them some time, assess their performance and commitment, and then offer them the position. A co-founder’s position is unlike any other position. It should be offered to someone who is as passionate and driven as you. You should build a working relationship first and then take it to the next level. You can propose the co-founding position once you deem them fit, in terms of business values, vision, zeal, and ideas.
Find a Startup Solutions Provider
For those who are looking for a technology partner, looking through online directories, Google, lists, etc., can be great to find a startup solutions partner. You can share your ideas with them and get their consultant to discuss them further. Choosing a dedicated web development company or a startup solutions provider isn’t a big hassle. You can turn to such firms for your initial product development or the MVP development. You can join hands with them as a technology partner and can grow together with them as you scale your product.
Seek Interest On Product Platforms
There are several product launch platforms like ProductHunt, Indie Hackers, etc., where hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs and product owners launch their products. You can find like-minded people on such platforms. Not just technical co-founders, you can also find potential investors, partners, influencers, and mentors for your startup by launching on such platforms.
Explore Networking Sites
One of the best ways to find a technical co-founder for your startup is through networking events and networking sites. One of the most prominent networking sites for startups to find a technical co-founder is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a trusted professional social media site where you can easily find a technical co-founder for your young firm. You can start posting pitches on such networking sites to get applications. Share your brief idea and the requirements on your LinkedIn page or Twitter and ask more people to share it out.
Hackathons & Conferences
The next proven way for startups to find a technical co-founder is to explore hackathons and conferences. There are several seminars and conferences that take place across every region. In such meet-ups, one can easily get in touch with like-minded people who can get together to work as your founding team.
There are several portals and website resources where you can search for technical co-founders for your startup. Here you can find technical heads with expertise and experience. All you need to do is filter your requirements and shortlist the best one from these website resources and directories. Some of the top such resources are:
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Startup Incubators, Accelerators, And Summits
The next stop for startups looking for a technical co-founder is to visit startup incubators, accelerators, and summits. These are some great platforms to find like-minded people for your startup project. You need to invest some time and efforts in such opportunities and you can certainly find some great technical co-founder who would also be ready to invest in your idea.
Looking For A Technology Partner? Look No Further
Startups need experience and expertise in the technical domain. A technical co-founder brings the same to the table. At Classic Informatics, we have been helping startups across different domains get their product up and running with our technical excellence.
As your technology partner, we help you ideate your product, perform market research, search for the right technology, build the desired tech team, and launch the prototype fast. After the MVP development, once the prototype receives a green signal from your early adopters, we make any changes suggested by the early users and start with startup product development.
If you are also in a dilemma of choosing the technology partner or are divided between developing the product in-house versus getting product development outsourcing, you can check out our in-house versus outsourcing guide for startups.
As for a technology partner, we are powered by 300+ passionate coders, designers, testers, and business heads. We are capable of providing a complete startup product solution through our product development services. Further, we can assist you to solve any business problems related to your startup’s product growth, ideation, technology selection, etc., as well.