7 Reasons Why You Don't Need a Technical Co-Founder (or CTOs) - BuildFire
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7 Reasons Why You Don’t Need a Technical Co-Founder (or CTOs)



Choosing to work with a technical co-founder can be a tough decision. Sometimes this is born from a lack of technical knowledge by the other founding members.

The initial thought process may be that having a CTO can help your startup get the best opportunities for funding.

However, based on your specific product and goals, you may be able to get your product developed by a professional team without needing a CTO at all.

Without a doubt, technical leadership is necessary for any business. A sound understanding of the technical aspects of your product can help make critical engineering decisions and lead the development strategy of the company.

Many of these decisions are vital, but you don’t need a CTO to make them.

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The statistics show, most startups can get to the next level by raising funding with just one founder. Instead of having multiple cofounders, many startups are successful with employees who understand the technical aspects of your product.

More management does not necessarily lead to better results — you can make good decisions for the future of your company independently. Maintaining the company’s focus and priorities will definitely get the best results, whether there is a CTO or not.

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The advantage of working with your existing team and resources is that you will be able to save a lot of time and resources.

Hiring a CTO too soon can cost the company lots of money. A lot of the input they would give can be acquired through other means that are much cheaper.

For example, you can get professional advice from consultants, informed advisors, and engineering teams. Many startup founders have created successful tech companies and raised millions of dollars without having a full-time CTO at all.

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Here Are Seven Reasons Why You Don’t Need to Hire a CTO:

1. Good Team Players Can Help Make the Best Decisions

Building a successful startup is hard enough. You don’t need to make it more difficult by hiring someone with whom you have little history or understanding.

There will be testing times along the way, but if you have a good chemistry with your team of developers or engineers, you can survive the ride together.

CTOs may provide expertise from a financial and management perspective.

However only you and your team will truly know the trials and tribulations that it has taken to get to the point you are at.

A developer who has been with your organization may have more relevant input on your products and services than someone who has little understanding of where the company is going. With that said, you can still hire an app developer.

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Having good team players can inform the decision making process in the best ways.

It can also be good to work with co-founders to identify past areas of weakness that can be addressed going forward.

These pointers are going to be invaluable when it comes to making decisions on the progress and development of your business.

These tough decisions require a great deal of introspection. Working from a good rapport or previous experiences together is crucial to getting the best result, and sticking with the original co-founders of your company will serve well.

Based on the team members you have, a CTO may not be necessary at all.

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2. It Takes Time to Find the Right CTO

This is perhaps the most time consuming part of the hiring process for a CTO and can render the need for one useless. Not every technical skill set is the same and it may be difficult to find the right fit for you depending on your organization’s history.

Plus, if you pick the wrong CTO, it may adversely affect your startup based on inaccurate or irrelevant advise.

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Screening potential candidates to be the CTO of your company will take a good deal of work.

A good CTO would know your business well and have experience working in the same industry. Finding someone with notable experienced or a good reputation in the industry will provide for better results.

Nevertheless, if you are still in the design phases, it may be more cost effective to work with a development team to get your product off the ground.

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No matter where you are starting from, the process of finding the right CTO can be very time consuming.

This is valuable time that you could put towards building your products and addressing your startup’s partnership needs through different avenues.

3. They Need to Have the Right Skill Set for What You Want to Accomplish

This is the most important part of including a CTO in your operational model.

They would need to  be able to perform coding in specific programming languages, create unique bases, or integrating third-party features into a tech stack.

Whatever your company’s products accomplish, the CTO will need to have a solid understanding of it.

Their skills would have to surpass those of the development staff you already have and potentially understand bigger picture issues that are involved with the success of your business in order to be worthwhile.

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While there may be candidates that meet these qualifications, it could be hard to understand how much of these skill sets they actually have.

Many of these individuals also could be looking for short term work rather than full time CTO positions. This is complex because in most cases, CTOs have a technical background that you don’t have.

It can be hard to evaluate something you are not an expert in.

Some ways you can assess their skills are by looking at their work experience and their previous history to know if they are fit for the position.

Alternatively, you can bring on engineers or technical officials in a non-leadership roles if you don’t have the skill set to feel them out ahead of time. This option will be much more cost-effective.

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4. Compensation for CTOs Is Expensive

This is especially true if you pay for them with cash or equity stakes in your startup.

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Good technical skills are expensive, especially if you are asking someone to take a risk on a startup.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a CTO in New York City is $176,000 and can go as high as $300,000. This cost is very high even for those who raised significant capital in investment rounds.

The cost can go even higher if you consider offering actual compensation and equity.

5. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Thinking a Regular Developer Is a CTO

Startups can make the mistake of thinking that they need a CTO in the early stages of an organization. However, that is not always ideal.

If you have more than five engineers working for you, you are likely to need a team leader.

CTOs can clarify the roles and purposes of technical leadership in the company, and have to have a specific set of organizational and administrative skills that can help guide strategy.

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Still, it is better to work with a developer at first and then later acquire a CTO in these cases. In early stages you may not need a CTO because the company is focused on building products and services that require development.

An experienced technical consult might be of greater use in these situations.

Once the products have been developed, you could find someone to bring them to the market. That is where technical know-how of a CTO would be most applicable.

6. Finding One to Work Full Time Is Hard.

Another downside in gaining a CTO is that it may be difficult to keep one in the office full-time.

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There is always the temptation of greener pastures and it could be even be more difficult if you haven’t tied them down with a contract in the first few weeks.

Save your time and money beforehand and avoid people who will not stick by you full-time.

7. They Need to Have the Right Vision

Hiring the right CTO who will support your vision for the future is the most important part of gaining the right leadership.

This is perhaps the hardest quality to determine when analyzing a potential looking for someone who can help them CTO.

Judging someone’s vision would require them to explain where they come from and where they want to take your organization.

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that a CTO will be on the same page as you or the other co-founders. Hiring one may become a risk and liability when steering a company forwards.

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However, not every tech startup needs a technical co-founder, some just need an engineer to help them in the initial phases.

Most of the time you can rely on existing infrastructure or team members. If you find your organization needs a certain sense of leadership and direction in technical areas, considering a CTO for the future may be a good idea.

Finding the right technical co-founder is no simple task and requires careful planning and foresight.

It takes a serious commitment to get the right vision. If you are hiring a CTO for a full-time startup, make sure you select someone who can commit to the growing needs of your organization.

Ultimately, there are a lot of steps that you can take to create software and mobile applications without a CTO.


BuildFire offers custom development teams and strategies to create apps from the ground up.

With designers, engineers and product developers working together, your vision can come alive in a concrete and effective way.

The results of a comprehensive team that have years of experience in app design are proven to yield the best results.

Especially when to comes to novel software, it’s always a good idea to find someone with the right experience to make your idea work.

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Buildfire makes it easy to set up an initial discussion to explore the vision of your products and services.

Even if you are starting from the idea phase, you can get feedback and constructive input from a team of highly experienced designers.

You will receive powerful suggestions on how to start your project and layouts of what each step will look like.

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Get development and software that works. We take the mockups from initial planning and turn them into highly accurate and functional prototypes.

This is the stage where your concepts come alive.

With state of the art technology, we work with back end developers to create a product that you can interact with.

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Once the functionalities of your app are in place, it’s time to test them out. Software engineers can tweak the performance and output of your product to make sure it measures up to your initial objectives and goals.

This is the phase where you can determine how effective the product is and what can be done to make it more useful and effective for your target customers.

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After everything looks good and is working correctly, it’s time to publish your app!

The team at BuildFire can help you every step of the way, making sure that your app is well represented online and in the marketplaces you choose to share it in.

We can show you how to measure the exposure your app and use app promotion platforms to your advantage.

Our goal is to make the development process streamlined and efficient. Once you have the best possible product, you will be free to move forward with your business goals uninterrupted.

A professional team like the ones at BuildFire can make the technical process so easy, needing a CTO won’t even be on your mind.

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The final word on hiring a CTO

In conclusion, having solid technical leadership is an essential step for any startup to take. However this doesn’t mean that you need a CTO right away.

Working with other technical team members instead of a CTOs, especially at early phases will help save a lot of capital. Hire an app developer.

If you have a solid technical team, and are able to learn about the technical needs of your organization, contracting engineers and other consultants to help you can produce equally successful results.

Learning some of these skills and working with developers might seem tedious and slow, but it will prove to be cheaper in the long run.

It might free you up to use your time and money to build products instead of trying to find a CTO.

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Ian Blair

BuildFire Co-Founder. I'm a digital marketer by trade and an entrepreneur at heart. I'm here to help businesses go mobile and build apps more efficiently than before.

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