“We Don’t Have a Technical Cofounder”

Launching a tech company without a CTO

You don’t have a technical cofounder?

Of course you don’t. That’s rarely the case. Finding someone with technical skill, strategic expertise, and industry experience can feel seemingly impossible.

By in large, there are more people with ideas than those who know how to build them. If you reflect on that for a moment you’ll find that it makes sense. Due to the ease with which our minds imagine and the difficulty of actually creating, there will always be more ideas than people to execute them.

For most people, this deficit has led them to play it safe, quit, or never get started. Surely you can’t start a tech company without someone who can build the tech, right?

Wrong. Technology is a tool, not a foundation. Building a successfully company is far more complicated than building great software. If you think a lack of technical expertise is your largest problem, you’ve missed it. Tech companies close their doors every day and it’s not because of bad software. It’s about the business. A business is made up of a vision, the people, the processes, and the value that it provides. The product (ie the tech) is just a subset of that value.

Among the companies that launched without a technical cofounder, my favorite is New Story. Leveraging a scrappy compilation of existing tools they managed to get accepted into a leading startup accelerator, secure millions in funding, and coordinate international relief efforts without a technical team member. It was about a year after they graduated the accelerator that I joined the team as their CTO. Part of what drew me to them in the first place was their persistence amidst a seeming lack of experience.

Another great example is our newest venture, Sharpp. It’s a software tool for franchise owners. Diana is the entrepreneur who developed the idea. She built the initial prototype…using Google Sheets. She reached out to us only after she’d taken action for 6 months, saw results, and had customers lining up at her door. We’ve partnered with her to convert the spreadsheet into a product that scales, but only after she did the leg work to prove she actually had something that people wanted.

A lack of experience should never be an excuse for a lack of action. Even without a technical cofounder, there are meaningful steps you can take today to move your idea forward.

Focus on the business, not the technology, and start making something people want.

Originally posted on Medium.

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