Every Tech Startup Needs a Chief Technical Officer
Many entrepreneurs of successful tech-based companies do not come from tech backgrounds. However, the biggest mistake that a non-tech entrepreneur launching a tech business is to neglect bringing on a tech savvy co-founder on the management team. This is like a bakery or restaurant launching without a chef.
In order to be a successful tech startup, the team must consist of a Chief Technical Officer (CTO) level member to help with the technology plan. This is generally achieved in one of the following ways:
- CTO Level Co-Founder (Equity)
- CTO Level Board Member or dedicated Adviser (Free or Equity)
- CTO Employee (Salary)
- CTO Part Time Consultant (Paid hourly or by project)
- Web Development Firm hired to do “Conceptualization Phase” – This usually includes thorough wire-framing (Paid per project)
Why is a CTO so Important?
Many entrepreneurs think they can bypass this team member by simply going to a web development firm and asking for a free proposal. For simple projects lead by people comfortable with web and mobile tech this may work. Generally, this strategy falls short. Especially when the entrepreneur begins to seek capital from sophisticated investors.
Your web/mobile idea needs to be transformed into a working product/service. A CTO is needed to develop a technology plan to make this happen. Furthermore, your CTO will be able to hire a development team that can build out your idea in appropriate phases. This team can be in-house, outsourced within the U.S. or outsourced internationally. This is one of the decisions that you and your CTO will need to make up front in order to put your technology plan together. This will allow you to estimate costs and timeline.
If you decide to outsource your development you will want to put together a good RFP with your CTO before approaching potential web development vendors. See the RFP Workbook below. If you plan on hiring a web firm you will just need to interview and get quotes from them for the conceptualization phase. If you plan on doing it inhouse your CTO and the founders should be able to put together system requirements, technical specs and system architecture for you and then build wireframes and MVP if applicable.
What’s in a Technology Plan Anyway?
A technology plan can consist of:
- Technical Specs/High Level System Architecture (Web/Mobile, etc)
- Development Plan (Timelines/Costs/Budgets)
- Product Development Team