How to start a tech company without a CTO?
Entrepreneurs are always put off by the idea of starting a tech company without having some “techie” to believe in their project and do the initial coding. Searching for tech co-founder is a daunting, long-term and often exhausting task. In the world of the “Lean Start-up”, Start-ups should be as efficient as possible, so we will dwell on how you can build tech business even if you don’t have the “perfect” CTO beside you:
Developer vs Manager
Many Early Start-ups view the role of CTO as purely technical. That may be the case in the early stages of Start-up growth as developing MVP is crucial. In the past, CTOs could exist within the boundaries of their own department. However, a CTO needs to see everything from business goals to strategies to products being created for clients and more. Some note that the CTO should be called: Chief Transformation Officer. As such you need a person with more managerial and business qualities than hard technical knowledge. Naturally, those persons are harder to come by and often have multiple options to work on well-paid prestigious positions in big companies.
Get Technical Advisor or Part-time CTO on board:
You still can hire a technical advisor to act as a counsellor on the development of your Start-up. This person could be a friend, ex-colleague etc and not necessarily shareholder. He could do advise on the technology stack, do code reviews, etc. If you establish a good relationship with him and you get good traction together, he could later on fill in the ranks as CTO.
Starting a business is a challenging and resource demanding endeavour. Hiring an in-house developer team or CTO could be risky and could drain many of your financial resources. Yet somebody should do the coding right? Many successful start-ups like Skype, Slack, GitHub started their journey to success by outsourcing some of the technical activities to third parties.
The primary reason is that outsourcing costs start-ups much less. Furthermore, Outsourcers come with skills already in place, so you do not spend time training. The low costs and knowledgeable talent means you can get your idea or product developed faster and your company launched sooner.
Choose someone with experience in your area and excellent customer service skills and focus on building a good relationship with him. Ask yourself about the priorities of your product/service to further optimise reduce costs e.g. scope, timeline etc.
Take advantage of what is already available:
The world has never been so generous for tech entrepreneurs who don’t have coding skills and don’t want to outsource the development to somebody. If your start-up is not putting technology as its most innovative feature, you can take advantage of dozens of website or app builders that can serve as building blocks for an MVP. Take Wix for a simple website or Appzio to build an application. However, note that is a short-term solution as you would need to confine your vision for your product with what the platform offers and you will have limited control over the technology and its development.
What is your opinion, share with us your greatest technical difficulties