Mentor Moment: Importance of a Technical Co-Founder

This question comes up a lot so I thought I would be helpful to explain why it’s important to have a technical co-founder.  

Now, I’m not saying that you absolutely have to have a technical co-founder as some co-founders can hire a senior developer who is committed to the company, but for most investors, it’s a red flag if you do not have one.  And there’s good reasons for this.  First off, as a tech startup your are building a product where software needs to be coded or hardware needs to be developed and as a business co-founder you cannot do this yourself.  

Don’t think you can take a couple of courses on Code Academy and all of a sudden be a developer and code your entire product. Building a product is done through constant rapid iteration, releasing the product early, getting user feedback, prioritizing new features or functionality based on that feedback, pushing out code and doing that process over and over again. You need collaborative and innovative discussions with your technical co-founder throughout this whole process to truly build a product customers need and love.

There are a million little things that you learn along this product iteration path and this knowledge needs to stay within the company and not be lost by uncommitted employees who might be job hopping or be held hostage by an outsourced software consulting firm. Investors don’t want to invest in a company where they know the majority of their money is going directly to an outsourced development firm where very little product development knowledge is retained and minimal product iterations are happening.  

They know once you stop paying the development firm that most product development knowledge is lost and no more product iterations will happen.  Among other crucial roles like raising money and early business development, investors want to know if you are convincing enough as a CEO to recruit other co-founders and talented people. Can you convince others to jump on this crazy train with you?  If not, then they start to question your ability to execute or question whether the company as a whole is tantalizing enough for others to join or invest in.  So these are just a few of the reasons why we highly recommend all of our startups here at Founders Floor have technical co-founders.

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