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Reason why Startup does Not Need CTO or Technical Co-founder

Dec 19, 2017
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startup does not need cto

It’s not a secret that early stage tech startups always meet plenty of difficulties and challenges before moving to the development process. It’s the period when the misallocation of resources often takes place, especially when founders are non-technical persons. Being non-technical founder you are more likely distribute resources in a wrong way.

But is it possible to launch a successful tech startup without programming skills? Definitely yes if you adhere to the right philosophy.

“Creating a tech startup in today’s world can be done by any smart entrepreneur – the key is knowing how to connect with the right network.”,- Eric Ries

How to find a CTO for a startup?

One of the crucial decision founders have to make is finding the best development team for their project. Finding a CTO or technical co-founder is also in the to-do list.

Analyzing the startup’s job boards we found lots of vacancies for the position of “CTO co-founder”. But after reading the descriptions we realized that small business isn’t looking for the traditional CTO, it wants to find the technical co-founder.

What are the responsibilities of CTO and tech co-founder?

CTO it’s an executive-level position, focused on scientific and technological responsibilities within an organization. Generally, CTO is needed in IT related companies or companies working with software.

Technical co-founder is generally a developer or just a tech savvy person who is hired by startup owner to become a technical partner. That means he is not an actual founder, he is an employee.

Usually startups can’t afford a really qualified CTO. In the same time, professional CTOs are not interested in spending their time waiting the day when a startup will gain money to pay him accordingly.

cto and co-founder of startup

So the main question is: does the startup really need a CTO or a technical co-founder?

One of the most common startups’ concerns is how to find a technical cofounder. Non-tech founders are especially susceptible to the idea of having in-house associate due to lack of experience in this sphere.

In most cases, startup owner wants to find all-in-one employee: CTO with management experience, co-founder passionate about the idea, and a programmer. We strongly do not recommend to hire such a person unless he is part of the original founding team. And we will explain why.

Reasons why startup does not need the CTO / technical co-founder:

Executive team should have experience together

Building a startup is not easy. There will be ups and downs, lots of victories and even more challenging moments.

Founders come up with a Startup Idea and live through it from the beginning to the end. But the invited CTO probably would not burn with the idea like founders do. Being a mediator between the owner and the team CTO has more chance to miss some important things and the result will be distorted.

Building your business with someone who is not aligned with your vision and isn’t able to perform or stick with you till the end is not a good idea. Would you marry someone the first day you met? Hiring a “co-founder” who did not actually found your company is the same thing.

founders of startup

Experienced CTO is expensive

On the early stages, you lay yourself out to achieve success and work for an idea, not for money. But the executive level positions such as CTO always require very reasonable compensation. If your companu is on the early stages, most likely is does not have a large budget and can not propose the very high income for CTO. especially if you want him to become a co-founder. The common practice is offering an external CTO a co-founder position with the low base salary + % equity. But experienced CTO focused on his career are not usually interested in such propositions.

why cto is expensive

Consider the technical skills of CTO

When startups want to find technical co founder or CTO, they usually expect him to be a qualified developer. But if founders don’t have technical background it may be difficult to understand the real competence of this person. When the idea of a startup is the development of a mobile or web app, it’s very easy to underestimate the scope of work and all the technologies developer must know to launch it. The truth is that it’s impossible for one person to learn all the programming languages and technologies and to be the real PRO in each of them.

Would you like to find out that you need one or even more programmers to join your team in the middle of the development process and go beyond the budget? Or find serious mistakes and fix them twice longer than development itself? We bet you would not.

Whom to choose instead of CTO?

Analyzing all pitfalls of hiring a CTO (technical co-founder), the next question that appears is: how to develop your web or mobile app and not screw it up?

We find outsourcing to be the best solution for startups. Here are some advantages of hiring outsource team instead of in house developers:

  • If you are still hesitating about your app idea we propose the unique opportunity to appcrash it!
  • You will get professional team with deep expertise in dev technologies, required for your app and the project manager who will be the “nanny” of the project.
  • Outsourcing is always cheaper than USA or UK based developers.
  • The company values its authority and will never let you down during the development process. We are interested in long-term relations with our clients.
  • You get the view from the outside and receive competent advice on your project.
  • Forget about legal issues because they are covered by the outsource team.

How To Get A Technical Co-Founder? Hiring a consultant!

If you run a startup that needs any Mobile or Web Development you have to consider plenty of issues both connected with business and the development itself. At the first glance finding a co-founder may seem a good idea. But if you want to achieve a good result, spending reasonable time and money, outsource appears to be the golden mean.

Be a professional – work with professionals. Let’s attain great heights together!



Elena is the business analyst passionate about everything connected with startups, business ideas, and analytics. She’s aiming to find the solution for every challenge, young companies meet on their way.

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