Startup Resources: Finding a CTO for your Startup

By Fernando Berrocal

When you are planning the process of starting a new startup, one of the most critical decisions you'll have to make in this type of business during this digital era is choosing the appropriate Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for your needs. You have to know that when you are thinking about how to hire a CTO, there are a few things that you should always keep in mind. Since making the incorrect decision at this early point in your business development stage might set you back significantly, you have to think about this decision very carefully. It could potentially be disastrous to your prospects of ever making it to the market and being the end of this uncertain experience before you even notice it. This type of professional will be crucial to your startup's product creation and delivery, as well as its day-to-day operations and strategic growth.

Finding a CTO



Determine exactly what you want from a CTO: Basically, the job of a CTO varies greatly depending on the size of the business and the type of its activities. If you have a large staff and your sales process does not demand a lot of technical knowledge, the individual you're looking for may not need to be a big part of your daily operations.

On the other hand, if you're a “one-man-band” without technical knowledge and want to develop a complicated e-commerce platform, you'll need the help of an operator with a wide range of tech-related skills. Discuss with your team and determine exactly what you require and examine how many of those needs can be covered by your current staff. Only then will you be able to write a job description for a suitable CTO that properly fits the role you’ll need.

Look in the Appropriate Locations: There are a variety of places and situations where you may meet, network with, and get to know the type of person that would be a good match for your business. Attend tech-related events (exhibits, conferences, summits, and other gatherings), if you ask around your network, you should be able to find out about such events. It may even be worthwhile to hire a technical adviser temporarily to assist you in identifying the ideal individual to hire. Simply expressed, don't be afraid to seek out general and technical information, as well as to meet a variety of individuals who may be able to assist you in making the best selection possible.

Finding a CTO



Look at Businesses similar to yours: An individual with experience in tech-focused jobs in your industry might make the smoothest transfer into your business, so take a look at your competitors. You could come across persons who have worked at or are just below the level of CTO and would be open to a transition. It's possible that they want to advance their career but won't be able to do so currently. LinkedIn is an obvious place to look for and investigate, you should also be able to determine how closely their experience corresponds to the scope of the job you need.

Prepare to Market Yourself and Your Business:  The more appealing a possible CTO appears, the more likely they are in high demand in the market. In these situations, the hiring process is a two-way scenario. You may and should believe that your business and the products you offer are immensely appealing. However, you must develop a plan that allows you to effectively sell yourself and the business. Prepare to describe your startup's principles and mission, as well as how joining such an organization would assist the newcomer in achieving their own personal and professional objectives. 

It's also critical to know what qualities you're searching for ahead of time, these can be summed up like this:

  • Relevant experience: Check to see if any possible CTO is familiar with your landscape. If you're starting a small business, it makes no sense to recruit someone who has worked for a big corporation. Similarly, if you're developing an app, determine which software languages you'll be utilizing and make sure your possible CTO is experienced with it.

  • Technical Skills: Request that potential hires provide you with examples of previous work. Check these with an unbiased third party you can trust to provide an honest evaluation of the initiatives that your candidate has steered to completion. At the end of the day, your CTO will be evaluated on their technological prowess.

  • Buy-in: Any new member of your team should be committed to and enthusiastic about the products you want to launch. This is especially important when it comes to the individual who will be in charge of the product's technical development. If they are just partially enthusiastic about your idea, the work they produce may be similarly unimpressive.

  • Personality Match: You'll be working closely with the CTO as you build products. The better you get along with the person in question, the more likely you are to succeed. It's critical to know, like, and trust the people you work with within any business setting; this is especially true when it comes to someone as crucial to your product development and business development as your technical lead.

Ready to bring your startup to the next level? Apply to MassLight’s next batch. MassLight supplies capital and a dedicated tech team. We take equity in return. Have questions? Refer to our FAQ page.

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