By: Natalie Zweig
A technical co-founder is a central point for all your startup needs. To put it simply, they are talented computer experts who partner with startup founders to build a startup. The startup must be a specific type of startup, one that requires technical skills to build. Technical refers to the programming and software engineering skills they have in order to build the behind the scenes of your business. Technical co-founders are more than a contracted programmer, they take on a partnership role in the company, and are therefore invested in the startup’s success. They help the startup founder’s vision come alive and help the startup grow from an idea to post-seed.
Finding a technical co-founder can be difficult. They must possess the qualities and skills you’re looking for and be a good fit for the company. Here are some qualities to look for:
It’s important to find someone who has experience building company’s from the ground up. While you can take a chance on someone new, having a technical co-founder who has done similar projects before ensures reliability. Consider a company who specializes in the area, look at their previou projects and see if they’d make a good fit. MassLight has been providing software development for startups and enterprises for over 20 years. They have partners with companies such as Pacify, Shift One, and Frameshot.
Your technical founder should love their work and be passionate about the companies they partner with. Passion equates to hard work and willingness to stick it out for the long run. Since after all, building a startup takes a great deal of time. Many startups fail, so pick a co-founder that will fight for your startup’s success.
Business decisions and technical decisions often go hand in hand. The technical founder must consider both aspects throughout building the product. Startups are half technical and half business and each side is reliant on the other. Both must work in tandem in order to succeed.
- Programming expertise
It’s valuable to know many coding languages as a technical co-founder. It’s more important to specialize in one language or area in order to achieve the best results.The language they use will set the foundation for the next few years, so it’s important to set a good foundation early on to avoid mistakes down the line.
- Expertise relevant to the startup
Expertise is great, but relevant expertise is better. Having domain expertise makes a great co-founder. Consider partnering with someone who has worked on similar projects in the past or is familiar with the domain of your startup. Companies like Masslight have experience in many domains due to their vast experience over many years.
Technical co-founders must be able to meet deadlines. A good co-founder sets a realistic time frame, has the ability to say no, and is dedicated to getting the job done.
Paying attention to organization early on is crucial when the startup begins to grow. Technical co-founders must pay close attention to detail. The development, staging, and production servers, subversion/Git setup, commenting and documentation for new hires, and product roadmap should be well thought out and planned for the start.
Many problems will arise after the launch of the startup. Technical co-founder must prioritize which technical fixes to make in order to best serve customer needs.
Technical co-founder are partners, meaning they must take charge yet also follow directions and take feedback. The co-founder must listen to customers and data and use that information to solve problems. Masslight’s build for equity creates balance through it’s design. The company takes a percentage of equity in exchange for building your product. This gives the technical co-founder a technical role and founders role, and makes them invested in the company’s success.
- Share the work
Having only one technical founder can create its own challenges. A team is the best approach, since it allows for many programmers to collaborate and each bring something to the table. Everyone has weaknesses, and it’s important to acknowledge them. A team approach allows work to be delegated based on skills so everyone’s strengths are shown in the product. MassLight’s team is specialized in many areas, and together can create anything.
Do you want to build a successful startup? Consider using MassLight for all your technical efforts. We build software for early stage startups solely in exchange for equity. Learn more about our build for equity program or contact us directly.