What should I do with a great startup idea when I lack technical skills? If this question resonates with you, don’t worry. This problem is typical for those, who are planning to launch their own startup and there are at least a few solutions to consider. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of the two most frequently chosen options - hiring a product development company or a technical co-founder.
Devshop vs tech co-founder
Basically, the answer to this question is never straightforward. Software development is a comprehensive and challenging task from both a technical and business perspective. This is why it requires not only a set of variable skills but also a good development plan, proven methodologies and agile management.
However, in the end, this decision is all about engaging the right people able to perform appropriate skills and mindset that will support you in solving your upcoming challenges. Where to find engineers that will be creative and collaborative fast learners? Let’s break it down.
Devshop as your CTO
The first thing that usually comes to startup owners’ minds is turning their steps to a product development company. Software house is obviously an organization highly qualified in software development - however, you should be careful about this term. From our experience, it’s frequently confused with an IT recruitment agency that, in fact, has nothing to do with producing software.
So what is the scope of the devshop? It’s a highly specialized, technical company that does not only code, but also cares about the business context of the initiative. As they know your needs very well, they proactively propose solutions that are appropriate at the specific stage of your software product development process. What’s crucial, they are also capable of building performant teams, which releases the startup owner from using their time and resources for recruitment, staff training and getting through all stages of team development. When making a choice - devshop vs tech co-founder, it’s important to compare both options, taking into account advantages and disadvantages of both of them.
The advantage of devshop
So what are the pros of working with a software house?
- You cooperate with a highly specialized product development company that takes ownership of the process and acts as your CTO.
- You get access to the full scope of technologies. Thus, you are not limited to specific solutions, but can benefit from diversity, while working with specialists from various technical backgrounds.
- You don’t need to bother yourselves with recruitment and staff training. You receive a ready-to-work team performing specific hard skills and soft skills and an ability to deliver optimal results. For example, at AppUnite, we are capable of delivering such a team within 4 weeks.
- A qualified software development team has significant experience coming from previous implementations. This is how you can benefit from their know-how related to similar projects and make your product development process shorter and more efficient.
- A software product development company usually stays updated with the latest trends and technologies, so they are able to provide you with the most modern solutions and industry best practices.
- Cooperation with a devhouse reduces the number of your operational tasks and decisions, so that you can focus on more strategic steps.
- When working with a software house, you receive not only a technical partner but also a business partner that will take ownership of your project and lead you through the entire product development process.
Although the listed benefits of working with a software product development company seem to be obvious, there are still some people that remain skeptical of this solution. The most frequent doubts are related to:
- Long kick-off time and MVP development Some industry enthusiasts believe that dev shops are not engaged enough in the projects, as they have to split their attention between a number of clients. However, it’s not necessarily true. For example, at AppUnite, a client is assigned to a dedicated team. This means that they work exclusively on your project in the same way your own team would. As a client, you have control over your team and the team is committed to the product idea. This really depends on the company’s structure and management.
- Higher cost Obviously, hiring a professional product development company might be expensive. However, it will still be cheaper than investing in recruitment, staff training and building the team in-house. Moreover, fixing bugs, reducing technical debt or changing the entire technology and architecture that was formerly designed by someone inexperienced can also be tough. This is how cooperating with a software house increases cost-efficiency and mitigates many risks.
- The reluctance of investors It is commonly believed that investors are not enthusiastic about supporting startups that outsource technology. From our perspective of an experienced partner engaged in strategic investment calls, investors focus on estimating your potential rather than assessing what you’ve already done. What’s important, a software product development company doesn’t operate in an outsourcing model, but acts as your CTO or an internal team. This enables them to handle the technical part of negotiations with potential investors.
Finding a technical co-founder
Now, let’s proceed with a short summary of the pros and cons of working with a technical co-founder.
A technical co-founder, just like a software house, can take ownership over a startup project. Ideally, they contribute with the highest possible commitment and engagement. They dedicate their time and effort to support you in terms of both business and technology and provide you with in-depth industry insights. They also share your responsibility for all ups and downs. From our perspective, this is the biggest value coming from hiring a technical co-founder.
However, one person cannot provide you with such a comprehensive view as the team of qualified developers can. Time, effort and engagement may not always compensate for skills, expertise and knowledge of various technologies. Moreover, while sharing responsibilities, you also share influence - and lose the possibility to act fully independently. In case it turns out that you and your partner are not on the same wavelengths or represent different leadership models, this may severely interrupt the decision-making process and jeopardize the entire project
Finding a person who shares your values and vision might be a lengthy process, so before you proceed with this decision, carefully analyze whether you are ready for such a commitment.
Devshop vs tech co-founder - summary
So which solution is better - hiring a devshop or a technical co-founder?
Obviously, every project is different and has specific requirements and every founder must find the answer to this question on their own. However, as a software product development company, we have already completed a number of successful startup projects that have successfully attracted investors. If developing a similar product is currently on your mind, feel free to contact us - we will be happy to provide you with cost estimation and our insights.