Building a company is a challenge on its own. And working on a new solution or product requires dedication, time, and passion. A lot of startups begin with a few people and ideas, but at one point every company needs a technical leader to join the team. In this situation, you might find yourself wondering how to find a CTO for your startup. The process is challenging to say the least. To find a startup CTO you need to be very precise about your requirements and expectations. There are not many high-profile specialists out there. After all, the CTO role in startup is a certain risk as many startups do not make it to the top list.
The biggest conflict is that an excellent professional probably already has a job with a decent salary. That’s why the offer needs to be undeniable. So you might ask “Is it even necessary to find a CTO co-founder for my company?” Yes, it is necessary. As it was stated in the Forbes article on the matter:
“Every company looking to implement software solutions needs one tech-savvy person who can make essential decisions around the technological aspects of the software. It’s important to have someone on the business’s side who understands both the nuanced needs the system should meet and the technological aspects of meeting those needs”.
If you are still wondering “what does a CTO do in a startup?” and how such a specialist can help, here are top benefits:
- Helps to create the company’s roadmap and design the development, testing, and implementing of a new product
- Find a suitable team of programmers to complete the project
- Present technological ideas to vendors and investors
- Make all tech decisions regarding platforms, services, programming languages, databases, etc.
- Set the development and testing quality standards, work on documentation, and process protocols
Tips on How to Find a CTO Co-Founder for Startup
First of all, acknowledge that this process is going to take a while. It is not an easy choice, this is a person that will make crucial decisions and work by your side for years. It is vital to know startup CTO responsibilities and roles. Here are tips that will help you on this journey.
Set the Requirements
Start with what you expect to find in CTO. List the technologies this professional should know perfectly. These are technologies that are necessary for the planned solution. It is a basic filter to circle out candidates. Also list the requirements such as experience, motivation, values, communication, and leadership skills, as well as culture fit.
Our advice: You can be extensive in your list, but set the priorities straight. Some requirements might be essential; others are desirable, or a bonus but not a must. Also, be realistic in your expectations, there are no perfect matches.
Another good idea is to consider senior developers and technical specialists that are just below the CTO level. They might work for other startups and be ready to fill in the position. The best way to find a CTO software engineer is to look in the same industry or field. The main benefit is that this person will be motivated and passionate about their promotion. It automatically makes the offer more valuable.
Our advice: Find a lead developer CTO that has worked with similar projects via social media or personal recommendation. They will be more eager to join your company as it gives them promotion.
Check Tech Expertise
Always check the resume, portfolio, and previous accomplishments of candidates. They need to have a deep knowledge of technologies to make crucial decisions. And they also need to be practical about the implementation of new technologies. You can also ask them for a deliverable to prove their expertise.
Our advice: If you want to know for sure how to find a CTO to build an app for your particular solution, hire a technical advisor first. Technical advisers work part-time and can evaluate the technical expertise of candidates. It is a perfect solution to get a third-party objective opinion.
Leadership and Management Skills
Not every great developer can become a good CTO. It takes strong leadership skills as well as the ability to manage projects, tasks, and, most importantly, people. Check whether the candidate has managed a team before, ask them about it in the interview.
Our advice: Ask them what they are looking for in a team. If they name only hard technical skills and no soft skills, they are probably not a good fit. A great boss puts people in the center.
CTO should have a similar vision for the business. After all, you will be working together and make vital decisions, so it is rational to find a like-minded person. That is exactly what makes the search so long and challenging.
Our advice: During the interview discuss the business values and ethics you have for the company as well as salaries and work culture. Talk about the company’s roadmap and future goals. The candidate should share them and have similar purposes and passion.
Where to Find a Startup CTO
Whenever you’ve nailed requirements and expectations, you can look for candidates. But where do I find a CTO partner? You might ask. Well, there are several options, namely:
- Offline search. It includes all the networking your industry provides. You can ask for recommendations or look at the professionals working in similar companies. Another excellent way to find technical talent is to visit specialized events, like conferences, summits, or meetups.
- Online search. Start with websites that are dedicated for such purposes:
- CoFoundersLab – site to find link-minded co-founders
- AngelList– site for and about startups, investors, partners, etc.
- Founders Nation – similar to the first
- Consider a remote CTO. You are not limited to finding a specialist in your city or even country. You can find a full-time CTO as a service or find a fractional CTO in other parts of the world. It has several significant advantages, such as:
- Access to a wider talent pool. It is hard to find a CTO on its own; there is no need to limit yourself geographically. Maybe a suitable candidate lives elsewhere, do not miss them
- It is cheaper. Salaries in different parts of the world fluctuate significantly. You can find a high-profile specialist for twice the price outside the state
- It is flexible. If your company cannot afford a full-time position, it is possible to hire fractional or part-time CTO as a service
- Such a specialist will be motivated to put your goals and purposes in the first place as you are his client at the same time. It also adds up to a commitment to the company
Top Countries to Search for Remote CTO
There are many countries to choose from when it comes to remote IT services of all levels. Consider time zones, language and cultural differences, business ethics, and values. Also, research the market offer of professionals and average salaries and hire-related costs. Here is a list of top outsourcing destinations in the world:
We’ve placed Ukraine on the top of the list as it combines several benefits. It is a developed IT-outsourcing hub with international experience. Employees here are highly-qualified and have a good command of English. Another advantage is that there are top-notch outstaffing companies that can find perfect candidates according to your requirements. FindVirtualCTO.com has years of experience in outstaffing and has many international partners to give them access to high-profile talent.