technical co founder

Recently I saw a question on Quora:

Can I start a tech startup by outsourcing much of the development and later find a technical co-founder?

My initial thought was “no way”. Think of all those extra costs your would pay for established agency, studio or freelance team. But then, is hustling the team with equal expertise easier? Especially on developed markets as USA or Western Europe.

On Quora top answer is from Tyler Denk. The guy nailed it:

“… the answer really varies based on the circumstance. As you mentioned, using outsourced development for a prototype as an inexpensive way to validate your idea is usually smarter than either wasting months of your time building a product on your own without knowing it people will pay for it OR wasting months looking for a viable developer and not making any progress…

Short Answer: Yes, but I would be actively looking to add a technical member to your team…”

Cool, but are there companies actually offering you to build an MVP? So I googled “hire agency to build mvp”. On first glance SERP suggested endless lists of pros and cons and questions similar to the one I began my exploration with.

And then boom! I found these guys I wouldn’t go into much details why the service is so gorgeous (design and lots, lots of content)/ Check it out yourself.

Of course there are some concerns:

  1. Price tag. Looking at the website design it seems like they’d charge you a lot. On the other hand they are not US based agency, so maybe Israeli \ Russian team origin will mean lower price than you can expect from top US firms.
  2. Niche. After a short wonder around the website you quickly figured out that the agency is focused on ecommerce, SaaS and what seems like inhouse products (wordpress plugins, SaaS etc.)

By the way, checkout there Bonus table: Boy, these guys try hard to convert every visitor they manage to get on their website 🙂

Anyhow, getting back to our topic of outsourcing your future startup baby steps here is a brief summary of concerns you should keep in mind:

  1. Do not agree on rare tech stack. E.g. it’s much harder to find a Ruby on Rails developer that PHP or Python. To get a rough idea google something like “website programing language use stats”. Here is a decent result
  2. When you start building inhouse team there is a lag time for them to get up to date with the current code base and general idea of what’s going on in company.
  3. If you’re utilizing cheaper development through another country, there are language barriers and possible time zone lag, so you might be spending your early mornings or late nights chatting with your outsource team.
  4. Check their portfolio for relevant to your idea projects. E.g. building online stores is different from edutech startups

From my personal experience I also wouldn’t recommend hiring a team from India without solid technical background, because their ‘yes, sir’ aptitude will bring you nowhere. Successful outsource to India is only possible with inhouse dev team shipping their dead simple yet time consuming chanks of tasks.

Eager to hear your thoughts on it, folks.