This October, our Director of Operations in North America, Nick Scheifler, had a chance to speak at ‘Gasp! There are Alternative Ways to Finding a Technical Founder!’ – a specialty panel at Austin Startup Week. This panel was put together to address the growing need for non-technical innovators to find the right resources to get their business moving – without getting burned in the process.
Switch believes that the single biggest challenge for start-ups is bringing on technical resources which match business needs and goals of the co-founders – while building a functional, fully-tested product coupled with an intuitive user interface. ‘Full-Stack Developers’ are currently called upon to accomplish these seemingly insurmountable feats, but is that realistic? Our Micro Development Center model gives entrepreneurs their own small dev team with the resources of a full-service software firm, to transform their business needs into scalable products, at each stage of the MVP process.
Here’s a summary of the panelists’ contributions:
Jeff Levine talked about how ideas evolve over time based on experiences and challenges we face. He drew from his own experience, sharing that his approach to finding co-founders is simple: look for a true partner. If you don’t think someone will contribute, and is therefore, worth a significant/meaningful share of equity, then you shouldn’t take them in. There are plenty of other options to consider if you are not willing to give up any equity.
Nick Scheifler spoke about tapping the international world of technical talent to build your development team. The skillset for software development is virtually a global commodity at this point, but generally only if you go through a trustworthy partner that is able to help you manage the risks. Because Nick’s team is based out of Uruguay, he is able to help entrepreneurs define their projects and develop them more cost-effectively and faster.
Gavin Gillas, CEO of the Magazine Channel, shared his experiences of finding the right technical co-founder and growing his business. He admitted that his technical partners were found through serendipity – meeting the right people at the right time. He advised that you become as “technical” as you can about the field you’re entering, avoid creating yet another “platform” and instead focusing on one side of the user/provider spectrum first, and treating potential co-founders like investors.
Lakshana Pant, CTO at iincore labs spoke about several different alternatives to finding a technical co-founder. Before you decide to approach a technical team/person, she pointed out that you should know what technical skills are required for the product. It can be quite challenging to find ONE technical person who has all of the skillset required for the development of the product. Depending on the requirements, you may actually need someone whose skills are very different than simply a full stack developer. Lakshana mentioned if you are a startup or a small business, she personally recommends to evaluate the option of a hiring a Fractional CTO. A Fractional CTO (or CIO, CSO, etc.) can be hired for a specific amount of time to accomplish certain focused objectives on your product road-map. This is stop-gap can be cost effective for your company in the interim as you get off the ground.
The event was moderated by Mikaela Berman, Co-Founder of the Small Business Council and marketing consultant to various small firms in the Austin area.
Find out more about our start-up engagement types, which enable you to scale cost-effectively scale your software products with complete control of the product road-map.