We recently held an AMA with Techstars’ Co-CEO, David Cohen, where he answered commonly asked questions from founders about topics such as forming a team, developing an MVP, and applying to an accelerator program.
My co-founder and I are not technical so we used an outside company to develop our MVP. At what point should we start looking to build our technical team?
The analogy I would give you is, if you are a software company, it’s probably pretty important that you have software expertise. If you’re not a software company, and you maybe just have some software that is not absolutely core to what you do, (maybe you’re an investor like us and you have software, but it’s not the central thing that you do for people), then maybe you don’t need to have a full-time engineer, you could outsource that. But, if you are an auto repair shop, and people are bringing their cars to you to be fixed, I don’t think that I would want to outsource my mechanics, because that is my core competency as an auto repair shop. I want total control over it and I want to be the best in the world.
If you’re a software company, I don’t see how you could be the best in the world by outsourcing it to somebody else. Too expensive, not enough control, not enough ownership, hard to get the resources on what you want when you want it, etc. So my answer is, the earlier the better. It’s obviously always a big challenge – people will say, well we don’t have the funding to hire the technical resources, we’ve found an outside group to develop the MVP for a little bit of equity, then great! You’re being an entrepreneur, you’re figuring it out, but if this is your core competency, bring it in-house as soon as possible.
At Techstars, we fully believe in the idea that no one is “too far along” for Techstars. Inversely, nothing is too early. Techstars has a program for every step of the entrepreneurial journey – from startup programs like Startup Digest, Startup Week, Startup Weekend and Startup Next to later stage offerings, including the accelerator program and venture capital for add-on funding.