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What is your guidance for a non tech person who wants to start a tech based start up ?

Share your practical thoughts for a non tech person who wants to start a tech based start up with ready idea and product, but do not have technological expertise.

27 Replies

Michael Li Clayton
2
0
I.T. Manager at Select Racing (Vic) Australia
My advise would be to join a technology based startup group at meetup com in your city. They have some great information nights on this subject.
David Meachin
6
0
David Meachin Advisor
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (and Founder) at Cross Border Enterprises, L.L.C.

Find a REALLY GOOD Tech person and incentivizehim/her with a meaningful slice of the equity, phased in over time in accordance with important milestones. This is a competitive world where if you don't have top quality technology (ideally in due course patented) others will copy your idea with a better technology mousetrap. Also, at the start (not later on) have your lawyers draw up a contract which makes it clear to the tech person/partner that the technology developed BELONGS TO THE COMPANY, not to the tech person, to avoid the possibility, which can happen, that down the road the partnership doesn't work out and the tech person takes the technology with him/her to set up a competing entity and leaves you with a great idea but no technology. Also good to ensure that you have a good working knowledge of what the technology is about so that if you later have to pick up with other technology partners you are not confronted with a "Black Box" where the only person who knows how the technology works is your now departed, former tech person.


Rafeeq CE
1
2
Rafeeq CE Entrepreneur
Head of Technology
Being a non tech person has some advantages. What I have seen with most tech founders (mostly in Bangalore) is that they try to solve everything with technology and that is not what probably a customer wants. You could augment your technical skills by joining an online course. Once your start up matures, you could go for a tech co-founder or a paid consultant.
Gabor Nagy
1
8
Gabor Nagy Entrepreneur
Founder / Chief architect at Skyline Robotics
Become a tech person?


Kim Albee
4
0
Kim Albee Advisor
Marketing Automation & Content Marketing Strategist
I agree with both David & Michael. Unless you can hire a good technologist right away. Most great ideas that need tech but founder doesn't have that skill will end up with lousy architecture that will need to get rebuilt if you gain traction.

Don't go cheap on the tech side either, if that's what is core to your product.




Gonzague PATINIER
3
1
Gonzague PATINIER Entrepreneur
Looking for new opportunities in ASEAN
Partnering/Hiring a "good" tech person come to mind.

However, how "strategic" is it for the start-up to have these tech skills in-house, compare to getting it from outside (contractor/outsourcer)?

You could still develop the concept/prototype in-house with minimum tech skills, while having a 3rd party do the implementation.


David Meachin
1
2
David Meachin Advisor
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (and Founder) at Cross Border Enterprises, L.L.C.

Agree with Rafeeq - It is notjust "All About Technology" We work with a lot of technology companies to assist them in turning "A Bits and Bites Pitch" into a "Strategic Value Pitch" that the CEOs of major companies can understand and appreciate and consequently consider partnering with or becoming a customer of the technology company. Most of such CEOs as well as most consumers really don't care to know too much about the technology - except that of course is has to work and do what is claimed it can do. What they DO care about is "Do you have a viable Solution to Whatever Problem I have that your product can provide?". We find that the best senior executives of technology companies, in terms of generating revenues and building their businesses, are not those who love to tell anyone and everyone how wonderful their technology product is (and quite a few tech entrepreneurs fall into this category), but rather those who take the time to figure out what a potential partner/customer's problem is and how the technology product provides a viable, andhopefully superior solution. Much better to "Find a Need and Fill it with a Product" than to "Have a ProductLooking for a Need to Fill".


Jeffrey Pearl
2
0
Jeffrey Pearl Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur, CEO and Sales Leader
You must find a technical partner or find a way to partner with a technical company that is on a similar path. MAKE it a great day! Jeffrey R. Pearl | Vice President, Global Channel Acceleration| BroadSoft, Inc. | [removed to protect privacy] | http://www.broadsoft.com
Eric Sullivan
0
0
Eric Sullivan Entrepreneur
CEO at FoundationLab
You should find a partner either a company or invidividual that you can trust to help you drive things along.
Joe Albano, PhD
4
0
Joe Albano, PhD Advisor
Using the business of entrepreneurialism to turn ideas into products and products into sustainable businesses.
FD is littered with discussions about the value of ideas ... bottom line is that the sustainability of your business depends on the ability to execute on those ideas in a way that clients/customers are willing to pay for.

With that in mind, here are a few thoughts:
  • Are you clear about what your ongoing contribution to the enterprise will be? It's great to know what you need, but what do you bring to the table?
  • Are you looking for an employee or a co-founder? If you're looking for an employee you need to understand the basics of value-for-money (you get what you pay for). Can you afford the services that you need?
  • If you are looking for a cofounder, why does your cofounder need you? "Idea people" often focus on the (imagined) value idea and not on the value required turn the idea into products and services.
  • Once again - why does the business need you? Will you do marketing? product management? fundraising? what is the value of what you bring relative to the value provided by your employees/cofounders/investors?
  • Where will the money come from? In addition to the runway for your business (amount of time, money, and other resources required before your business gets off the ground) - what is the runway for you personally and each of your cofounders and key employees?
Ideas are one small piece in building a successful and sustainable business. Each contributor in the chain of turning an idea into a business tends to overvalue their contribution and undervalue others. So - do everything you can to be realistic, make sure you are very clear about how contributions will be valued, and be clear about the difference between compensation (pay) and equity.
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