Do I need a technical co-founder to apply to Y Combinator?


There are two of us already on the team and have some knowledge of programming but no qualifications. Do you think we will be disadvantaged by not having a technical co-founder?


asked Sep 18 '11 at 22:08
Logi Kal
37 points
  • Define "some knowledge of programming". Unless you can apply to a senior programmer position as contractor it is more like "ok, I know how to cook a meal, do you think I should hire a cook to open a restaurant". I know a lot of people with "some knowledge of programming" who are totally unqualified to lead / run a larger project, let alone make long term architectural decisions. – Net Tecture 12 years ago
  • Ya, I agree with you. We don't have the skills needed for what we want to do. – Logi Kal 12 years ago

2 Answers


Depends on what you want to do and how matching the skills of your collegs is. If you plan a huge social platform and your collegs have only little PHP skills, you probably should go looking for one. If your collegs have already made webapps with Java or with any other language, they probably know what they are doing and you don't need one.

Based on the information you gave us, it is very difficult to say. I even just guessed you do something on the web.

answered Sep 18 '11 at 22:27
3,590 points


I think it is helpful to have somebody on the team that is able to handle technical questions as well as add credibility to the long term success of the business. I am sure one of the questions every investor would as is who is backing up this business on the technical front?

If may I will put a little spin to this question as ask:

Do you think its better to have a co-founder with equal shares, or will the skilled and qualified technical person who work for your as a contractor suffice? (Considering the software has been programmed by the same individual on contact basis)?

answered Sep 18 '11 at 23:53
Peter K.
194 points
  • Would they mind if i contracted out the programming? – Logi Kal 12 years ago
  • I don't think they would. Again I am not in VC business, but I think as long as you have your technical side covered either with a contractor or co-founder you should be ok. One thing to remember is when your using contractor, make sure you have the licence for the software sorted out. That means you need to have a licence for the programmers IP (the actual software). Therefore it is sometimes maybe easier to have a tech co-founder as by him being part of your joint company you avoid these licence related issues - it all depends on how you structure the contract with the guys working on tech. – Peter K. 12 years ago
  • Sadly, contractosrs do not have the technical sid ecovered and are expensive. You dont build your cor earmy on mercenaries. Been there as contractor, seen VCs react. DO NOT DO IT. Outsourcing is good, but if your business is IT related, then outsourcing core competences undermines, totally, your worth. – Net Tecture 12 years ago
  • I agree, but I don't think the original poster mentioned he is in IT business. IT business and Online services business are 2 different things. If you are running a website with a concept of Groupon for example, technical side is not a crucial part of your business as the business model is not directly IT related despite the whole concept is online based. Off course if you plan to provide cloud, data management or anti-virus services it would be maybe advisable to have a technical person at your side. – Peter K. 12 years ago
  • Its a website app and not an IT business, but i value the NetTecture's advice, and have decided it is best to have a tech co-founder, i will have to start searching which wont be an easy task! – Logi Kal 12 years ago
  • Off course the choice is yours. However I seen it before and know people running their online businesses who doesn't have core technical competences and outsource their technical work. Depends on your network however, in any way good luck with your project. – Peter K. 12 years ago

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