Do I need a technical cofounder?


4

I am in the very early stages of my first startup. I am not technical so I was wondering if getting a technical cofounder should be my first step or if I can go it alone with just my idea at first? I was considering hiring a developer for the just beta version or just a front end application so I have something to pitch besides just a hypothetical idea. My startup is a new music sharing program. And if I can go it alone at first when should I bring a tech cofounder on board?

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asked Jul 29 '12 at 06:23
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Peter
21 points
  • There is no way to get any sort of useful answer to this without more information. Are you tech? Can you build the product yourself? Do you have money you can pay to get it built? etc. – Joel Friedlaender 5 years ago
  • I updated my question. No I am not tech, I definitely cannot build it myself. I can pay to get a very rough version built (cheaply) – Peter 5 years ago
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5 Answers


3

You should get a technical co-founder. You are wanting to run a software business, you really are going to need someone that understands software well.

Otherwise you are at risk of wasting plenty of money trying to get it built (it's hard to manage a software project, that's why so many fail).

Having a successful software business isn't easy, and that's for people that really know software. I wouldn't make it even harder on yourself and try to do it with a disadvantage. Get someone on board that compliments your weaknesses and strengths.

answered Jul 30 '12 at 10:25
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Joel Friedlaender
5,007 points
  • + 1 for so many reasons. Consider getting a co-founder a test - you need to be able to convince at least him/her that your idea is worth implementing, but also vet it for feasibility. The pros and cons list on this thread to me looks like a clear win for a tech co-founder Vs. a hired programmer. Half of all new businesses fail within 1st year, an even higher rate of startups with a single founder fail. – Webbie 5 years ago
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3

The real question is hired gun techie vs. co-founder techie.

Both have pros and cons. You need to calculate them well and make a decision.

Hired Gun Techie: pros : cheaper than co-founder, does not own share of your company, fixed price for hours of work.

cons : may lack passion, treat you as "a job", may quit at any moment for someone paying $25 more an hour, leaving you with halfbaked goods that may prove a challenge for someone to pick up and continue, may be throw-away work that cost you top dollars.

co-founder Techie: pros : owns a part of your company, will more likely have commitment to see it done and succeed. has the know how to get it done, technically. May work for shares vs. getting paid from the get go.

cons : you give up a part of your company for him/her. If it doesn't work out between you two, separation may be costly, painful, "bloody" and can bring down your company/idea.

answered Jul 31 '12 at 01:32
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Ron M.
4,224 points

3

Verify whether there is a there there.

Ideas are worthless - execution is what matters. And by execution, it doesn't mean launching a site. It typically means finding an opportunity, doing enough research to determine how large the opportunity is, and then validating as much as you can before doing any heavy lifting (read major code development). Many times it doesn't even require code.

Also of note: your technical co-founder will also likely want to know that you've done the research before committing - otherwise, it's all risk for her/him.

You say "new music sharing program" - you need to be able to answer what is the target market, what problem are you attempting to solve / what is the value proposition you intend to offer your prospective customers, how they achieve this now, and how willing are they to adopt your approach. Also - what is the current competitive landscape (what your customers would compare your solution to).

If the niche your attempting to address is large enough to be a sustainable business and support a full time hire, then go get a technical co-founder: you will have all the info necessary to hire a good one. Otherwise, work through your validation steps and hire part time techies to fill in the knowledge gap until you latch onto something.

answered Jul 31 '12 at 07:09
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Jim Galley
9,952 points

1

build your music sharing program by yourself while searching for a co-founder. having a co-founder means having an other great person like you to do it together and the result will be much better than lone rider

answered Jul 29 '12 at 22:21
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Simplyme
186 points
  • awesome thanks! I just edited my original question to say I am not technical, so I need someone else to build it. So my question should be should I hire developers as contractors or should I just got a CTO/tech cofounder to build it. – Peter 5 years ago
  • @Peter You should also factor in that your product isn't just "built" - it evolves: You create a first version (hopefully based on feedback) and then make additions / changes. The changes typically come fast and furious as your assumptions face the realities of the market. Its not like building a house, getting the keys and then moving in. – Jim Galley 5 years ago
  • thank @jimg for all the advice and keep it coming! I definitely agree with the evolution of the product. I am looking to build a MVP first and then go wherever the customers take me. I was thinking about a video showing what the product "could" do, to save money and energy. – Peter 5 years ago
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1

  1. You can't build it without a support of a real techie! It would be better to take all the money you have and burn them in your back garden. This way you will not lose a few years of your life on top of all the money.
  2. You really need someone who is VERY experienced with SOFTWARE development. Very often "techie's" are web-developers who really don't know much about building software which only happens to be running online. A few years back I have been taken for a ride by people like that.
  3. If you don't know yet anybody who fulfills the requirement and wants to be your co-founder you can try to build the first version with outsiders. The problem is you still need a consultant to advise you regarding whom to hire, what and how to build.
  4. To make things even more complicated: what to build usually is more important from how to build it. (Using crazy example: You can build a beautiful and fast train but if the doors are in the roof people will not try to use it. ) That puts extra knowledge/experience requirements on the techie.
  5. Also this consultant CAN NOT be a part of the team which will build your software because his advice would be more in line with what's the best for them not for you. Please remember that you want your software to succeed but 'builders' are only interested in your money (regardless what they say).
answered Aug 1 '12 at 00:46
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