How to find a CTO for your startup

If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you know why it’s important to have a CTO on board in your company, especially if you’re planning to outsource your software development.

If not, make sure you check our CTO’s latest article - Why Do You Need a Tech Person When Working With an Outsourcing Company?

Technical specification

Before you start your searches, make sure you sit down and identify what kind of technical help and expertise you’ll need to develop your product. Take a pen and a piece of paper and write down what you want your app to do. If you have zero tech-related knowledge - draw the layouts and what’s going on on each "screen". It will be very helpful in the future.

After you’ve done that, it’s time to do the obvious - Google it! Look for similar apps, similar ideas. If you find a potential competition - go and download their apps. Test them, see how they implemented their features, highlight what you like and what you don’t. It will allow you to create a specification which will make it easier to find the right CTO. Later, find an experienced person, a mentor if you wish, and ask him for an advice. A single conversation might clarify a lot.

If you’re afraid of telling your idea to someone completely random, make sure you read our CEO’s article about NDA - Everything You Need to Know About Signing an Outsourcing Team

Now, let’s go back to the main topic.

The importance of a CTO

How to find a CTO? If you’re a startup and you have a long path ahead of you, you should look for someone who’ll like your idea, understand it and will want to make it his own. If you team up with someone who doesn’t care, the chances are, he won’t be giving a 100% of himself to your business.

Remember - finding the right co-founder is much more important than finding an investor. You can always change the latter, but your co-founder - you’ll have to work with him on a daily basis.

Local meetups and conferences

To start your journey you should check local meetups and conferences. These are events which many people attend for different reasons and looking for co-founders is one of them. If you look for some meetups and conferences in your city - hit me up via email at ruslan.kravchyk@rst-it.com and I’ll be more than happy to recommend you a few.

Friends & Family

I wouldn’t recommend you to go through your friends or family and see if there’s a potential CTO fit there, though. Even though it sounds like a pretty good idea, it’s better to start with a business-only bond, rather than one which may potentially ruin your friendship. I’m not saying it won’t work, but there’s a high chance it won’t and it’s much easier to execute difficult decisions that concern strangers.

Time to go back to Uni

But, don’t be afraid, there are a few more ways to find a CTO. One of them is a university. If I had to name a single thing the university can give you - it would be networking. It’s a very specific and segmented environment. If you’re already a graduate and don’t really have neither time nor a need to start again, just find the best technical faculty in your city. Visit a few computer science lectures and just observe, trying to pinpoint the sharpest minds in the room.

Fun fact: our CEO and CTO did meet while they were studying at a university. They bumped into each other in a corridor, had a few chats and here they are: doing businesses together ever since.

“Dating” platforms

Last but not least, in search for a co-founder you go can and check out “dating” platforms for finding a co-founder. There are quite a few of them. The leading and most popular one is called CoFoundersLab. Then there’s also Founder2be, FoundersNation, Hachi. You can test your luck and try to find the right person there.

Verify your CTO candidate

After you have found some candidates, you should check if they really have the expertise and knowledge you’re looking for. If you have no idea how to verify that - it might make sense to contact a software house and ask them for help. You can hit up our CEO Krzysztof Marszałek at krzysztof.marszalek@rst-it.com and we’ll give you one of our developers for 15 minutes to conduct an interview with you candidate. We won’t charge you anything, so you lose nothing, right? ;)

TL;DR

Let’s summarise it:

  1. Write down what you want your app to do.
  2. Check the competition.
  3. Don’t be afraid to share your idea.
  4. Visit meetups and conferences.
  5. Do not go to friends & family.
  6. Visit a university instead.
  7. Check “dating” platforms for co-founders.
  8. Verify your CTO candidate.