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Can a non-technical person create a startup?

This is a huge question that I have in mind right now. We are two business developers trying to execute with a tech heavy startup. Is our current founding structure a no go?
Especially keeping in mind that we are going to have to fundraiser at some point.

20 Replies

John Bentley, II
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John Bentley, II Entrepreneur • Advisor
Entrepreneur - Technologist - Software Architect. The Code Wookie is focused on helping people get the most out of tech.
The most important thing a startup brings to a VC is a team. Early stage investors will fund a startup with a great team and an okay idea, knowing a great time will find its way. That being said, at this point it would be important to find another co-founder that can provide the technical expertise to complement your capabilities in business development and product development.

Feel free to message me directly if you would like to discuss further.
Aldrin Alphonso
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Aldrin Alphonso Entrepreneur
Director - Future Wave Technologies.
If you believe in your ideas, hold on to it and look for like minded people. You can always outsource the development work building the initial blocks.
Once you have a fair part of the development puzzle sorted, you can talk to people in your network or look within the outsource team if they have someone who could partner with you and there you have your tech expert.

Good Luck.
Teddy Matheu
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Teddy Matheu Advisor
CEO at Clear Idea Labs, LLC
Yes actually I personally prefer that. Even if the startup requires a great deal of technical expertise, the co founders can be non technical. I am actually working with a founder in our incubator that has no technical background. However his idea is worth pursuing and everyone is on board and deep in the development process.

However, at the end of the day, you will need a solid CTO to bring the technical aspects of the business to life.


Good Luck!
Dave Perry
7
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Dave Perry Entrepreneur
Global Business Strategist & Technology Commercialization Consultant
Sandy, you would not start a restaurant without a chef and you cannot create a tech-heavy startup without a having a (great) technical person on the team - preferably as a founder. This was a costly lesson that I now pass along to you for free! Dave
Martin Omansky
1
0
Martin Omansky Entrepreneur
Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional
As long as you have something of substance to organize around (IP, for example), then I don't see why not, although I would make sure the technology is appropriately cared for. Sent from my iPhone
David Johns
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David Johns Entrepreneur
Providing experienced entrepreneurial, educational choice and non-profit management consulting.
Yes indeed, with the right people. I have done it. A word of caution though. Many suggest adding co-founders. I tend to be more stingy with ownership as I have been burned that way. There are a number of ways to work it, co-founding is just one.
Joe Albano, PhD
3
1
Joe Albano, PhD Advisor
Using the business of entrepreneurialism to turn ideas into products and products into sustainable businesses.
I'll start by pointing out that not all startups are tech startups - but you have pointed out that your startup is "tech heavy".

Next, I'll point out that the road from just starting up to being ready for VC funding is long and difficult - the vast majority of companies don't make it. Our friends at The Angel Capital Association tell us that about 500,000 startups get founded in the US every year. Less than 500 get classic VC funding.

When "professional" investors look at a tech company, they generally look for tech capability (is there someone on the team who can manage the technology and make the tech pieces fit together to make the business model work). Next, they will want some assurances that your CTO (or CTO equivalent) is fully invested in the company ... generally, that means "is a cofounder".
Raja Nagendra Kumar
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0
Raja Nagendra Kumar Entrepreneur
Code Surgeries | Micro Fixed Bids | Scala | Go | Kotlin | ReactJS | Android | Java | NFR Doctor
My analysis say that, non technical people can do better business while technical people can create better product. Non technical person should have long term vision and knows how to take technical team along.. rather than trying to be 100% on customer side always..then eventually such business would have higher chances of survival... Balance many sides.. including technical side..
Chandrashekar Ramaswamy
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0
Co Founder and Product Manager at y.hatch
The opinions on here are unanimous , and for good reason.

From what I understand, investors look for a strong ,viable and executable revenue-making idea - which can only be done by a strong team.

The co-founders should ideally bring a unique skill set and perspective to the start-up. With yours being a tech- start up , you need a tech expertise at a high level. Call him or her what you want (CTO, VP Engineering, whatever), but the responsibility should be clear. He or she is the one who drives the tech roadmap, decisions and execution of your product.

Between you and your other co-founder as well, I'd suggest that you assign responsibilities to each of your roles. There are many areas, and you could divide them amongst yourselves (eg. Ops, fin, customer acquistion, growth, customer success, fund raising etc) . It shouldn't come to a situation where an investor is left wondering why there are 2 people with the same skill-set looking at the same thing. In a lean start-up, you will want everyone to cover critical areas efficiently.

Sebastien Mirolo
0
0
Sebastien Mirolo Entrepreneur
Subscription Product Engineering
I agree with the previous statements:

- a tech-heavy startup needs a tech co-founder.
- not all businesses are tech-heavy, or require leading-edge tech.
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