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As a non-technical CEO how do I hire a CTO or Development house for a mobile application?

I am the CEO of a startup made up of students, we just won first place in our incubator. Our next milestone is to acquire either a CTO who can develop our mobile application and website; or hire a development firm to do produce our application.

None of us on our team have the experience or skills to handle the project management. We have a two to three-week deadline to find a solution.

I am looking for guidance in how to hire an individual or two individuals for the project, or should we go with a development firm.

To be frank we don't even know what skills we should be looking for. We are building a fitness application that uses machine learning for pattern detection. Our MVP pulls fitness data from the smartwatch/smartphone combines it with data from the application, sends it to our server for processing and then returns the information to our app.

The website needs a store, a login with a dashboard for the fitness data and visualisations.

We need a IOS application and watchOS for the apple smartwatch.

What is the best solution for our predicament?

27 Replies

Bharat Bhusan Biswal
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Bharat Bhusan Biswal Entrepreneur
Founder, Director at Mobiona
I am enterprising in to web and mobile apps @ Mobiona We work with startups in building products/platforms. You could also refer to following discussion on quora: https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-find-the-best-outsourcing-company-for-mobile-app-development
Andy Triboletti
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Andy Triboletti Entrepreneur
Android, iOS & PHP Developer
For outsourcing, you can use Upwork.com if you have clear requirements for what you want. I have an iOS developer there I have hired to work on some of the games I have developed. I am also an iOS developer, although I haven't used Swift in any apps yet, just Objective-C.

If you're looking to hire you can also use my company. Contact me at https://hire.greenrobot.com for a free proposal.
Bill Davenport
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Bill Davenport Entrepreneur • Advisor
Fintech Executive
Based on the short time frame it seems to me you need to go with a development firm. You might be unlikely to find a CTO with all those skillsets anyway, so you'd likely need to find a dev partner in either case.
Raj Dhonota
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Raj Dhonota Entrepreneur • Advisor
Angel Investor | Seed Stage Investor at RajDhonota.com
Hi Jose,

May be worth us having a quick chat. As someone who invests at concept stage, a lot of the founders I invest in have the same issues and there are a number of options available to you.

Raj
Siarhei Harbachou
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Siarhei Harbachou Entrepreneur
Looking around
Hi Jose.

As a Technical PM, I could certainly say you describe your product quite good at first stage.
So, you have most important success factor of development - you clearly understand what you need.
:)
I often see Statements of work more abstract than yours.

You need two developers: web and mobile (ios iwatch). I recommend to have them separate, because single fullstack developer is hard to meet and it will cost more expensive. Management part - I guess you can manage by yourself - just have clear understanding of your needs, don't change them too often. And indeed breakdown your product into parts, which are simpler to manage.
However if you have time constraint to work with development part, then indeed its better to hire somebody else.

I work with nerduptown.com team as ceo, and have technical PM who works with mobile and web direction. So, can help here.

Francis Dierick
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Francis Dierick Entrepreneur
Senior Mobile Consultant at U2U Consult
I would recommend splitting out "defining the requirements" & "finding someone to implement" at this stage. I'm an iOS dev & when I hear HealthKit + Apple Watch + Server + Machine Learning I see a pretty broad set of skills you're not likely to find in a single person. You need feedback from a senior dev to nail down the general requirements & help you prioritize the skills to acquire. Get in touch if you need help. Cheers - Francis
Dermot Kilroy
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Dermot Kilroy Entrepreneur
Co-founder at nujob
As everyone else has said it's going to be very difficult to find 1 person with all of the above skills to implement AND be the CTO. If I were you I would concentrate on finding a CTO who would be able to help you hire a firm to implement the project.

The CTO should be able to assess the project for Risk, define a technical roadmap based on the business goals and find the right firm to implement the project. The CTO will oversee the project and ensure that the code is of the right quality and the speed of delivery is as expected.

One of the big problems with hiring a firm is that when you have quite a bit of work to do, the firm is there for you most of the time. The minute the work dwindles down to business as usual, then you go down the priority list which makes it harder to solve all the little problems as and when they arise. Having a good CTO on board will make this less of a risk.
Jacques Leemans
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Jacques Leemans Entrepreneur
IT Engineer at Deakin University
Hi Jose,

As a mobile developer myself, I would recommend you look at something more hybrid, eg: Ionic Framework. The framework is able to use HTML code to generate IOS/Android/Windows apps. It uses Cordova plugins to access native features. There is already a HealthKit plugin for IOS:
http://ngcordova.com/docs/plugins/healthkit/

Ideally you should have a NodeJS server.

You could even get an template for the Ionic side, which might decrease your initial development time:
https://ionicthemes.com/
https://market.ionic.io/themes

Cheers,
Jacques
Mikhail Gorelkin
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Mikhail Gorelkin Entrepreneur • Advisor
Algorithm & AI Architect / Developer

Start first with hiring a chief data scientist to design analgorithmic solution and computational architecture for production.This is the competitive advantage of your business, so keep it close. Software architecture in this case is secondary and can be outsourced.

Jose Jimenez
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Jose Jimenez Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO/Founder at Applied Motions
Thank you for the replies.

Our company is part of an 8-week accelerator designed to generate enough traction to leap frog into either TechStars, Ycombinator or 500 startups.

The lean startup challenge is to produce enough traction (1000 customers) with our budget (60k) to begin the next round of development in the next accelerator.

With all the solutions proposed with this budget constraint which is most likely to lead to achieving that goal.


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