If you are tired of looking for a technical co-Founder and are confused how to even evaluate one, don’t worry there are options out there. Daunting as it may seem, finding the technical co-Founder you need is easier than you think. Your options are limited to finding a traditional technical co-Founder, hire a freelancer to help you through your MVP (more on that here), or hire a firm. It is entirely possible your technical needs don’t even require a technical co-Founder. Avoiding the traditional route leaves you with more equity to hire other areas you and your team are weak in. First, though what exactly is a technical co-Founder.
A technical co-Founder is a software engineer that is hired, traditionally for equity and salary, to build the software side of your great idea. It is very hard to even vett new candidates for the position when you have no technical skills. Looking at code isn’t helpful if you can’t code and there is a strong reliance on you and your team seeing the same thing. This trust takes years to develop, way too long for the tech startup scene. There are options to this costly and time-consuming part of the startup process.
Everything you need from a technical co-Founder is covered by coders. In America, there is a projected shortage of 1,000,000 coders by 2020. This is leading to a very valuable resource in short supply. The innovation of this era isn’t showing signs of slowing down, so finding a competent coder you trust and is affordable has become a very tough task. The good news is you still have a final option that will cover everything you need.
Development firms vary in size, location, price, and practices. Everything from boutique firms in the US and around the world, to large firms can develop your app. You will also find a similar range from, let’s just say ,“sketchy” through great on an ethical scale. You MUST be convinced and trust that your coder’s vision is the same as yours. We have run across many people wasting time and money on a firm that delivered a product that was nothing like they wanted, but technically counted as finishing the project. This brings up the next point, documentation.
Mobile app development is an iterative process (more on that here). The very first thing you must develop is your MVP or Minimum Viable Product (more on that here). This is the core idea you are after. Feedback from the MVP will go back to a coder (hopefully the same firm) for development. The documentation that you should require is the instructions to the code. This will greatly improve the time to develop your next iteration should you choose to use another firm. Not having these instructions can lead to utter chaos and it is best to ask up front about documentation. We have had clients have this issue and need to rebuild from the bottom up, costing time and money. As you can tell, the process of app development is ongoing and pretty tough to fill with just one person until you can afford to pay top dollar for an in-house team.
Another perk to using a firm as opposed to an individual is the diverse background of their coders. Coding is very methodical and even a misplaced semi-colon can cause the entire program to fail. Also, the way code is constructed takes pieces of code from different available sources (such as Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, etc…) and use them in a unique way by fusing it together with code written by the coder manually. This means that a coder can not possibly know everything to go through with zero hitches. EVERY coder will hit a roadblock, it is part of coding, the amount of time it takes them to fix the error requires the ability to reason and the ability to find a community that is eager to help them figure the problem out. Two (or 10) heads are always better than one when it comes to brainstorming!
As you can tell, the task of finding and hiring a technical co-Founder isn’t quite as daunting as it seems. Most businesses that are starting up will not even need the actual technical co-Founder. You just need to develop with a firm you trust and you will be all set in no time. All competent app developers will provide you with documentation for their code, help you with all the code needed, and the very best firms will be able to help you through all of the other things you will need from the business education through all the technicals. Therefore, no matter how limited your technical knowledge (or budget), you have options and they don’t require equity!