Team formation · Building Dev Teams

How should a pitch to a Dev CoFounder be different from a pitch to an Investor?

Stephen Cataldo

April 8th, 2015

Investors need very different pitches than developers who are specialized in tech and only dabbling in startups:

  What are the ways that a pitch to a FounderDating tech person should differ from a pitch to an angel?

Example: Investors are often seeking 10x returns and accept high risk. While tech co-founders are putting all their eggs in one basket and need better odds that their work will be used and earn something. A startup that is a lot of fun & learning that ultimately turned out only to have .8x returns (a little less than their market-rate earnings) might not be a regret for many tech co-founders.

Sajeev Aravindan Professor of Economics at GSB Stanford University

April 9th, 2015

I'm an indepth technical person with more than 15 years of experience in designing and developing enterprise software products though at present I'm working on my B2C product. If someone were to convince me to join them, I would look for the following, assuming I liked their idea in the first place.
  • First understand his motivations and what is her end goal? Is she trying to make a quick buck? Is she committed for the long haul? Is she part time or full time? Does she have the staying power? Is she planning to start anyway with or without me? Whether we both align in terms of the vision?
  • Does the person have a solid background in the field in which she is pitching the idea? ie. She is not only having the idea, but significant expertise in the business aspects of it.
  • Can she assemble a star team? ie. does she comes with some pedigree? by education, experience, network etc etc
  • Assuming we have a MVP today (assuming I did my job), can she take it to the next level? ie. Can she get funding, does she know how to get customers?

Karen Leventhal

April 9th, 2015

I hope some people chime in, because I'd be interested to know! 

Max Avroutski Building EV Charging & Electric Energy Access company

April 9th, 2015

With over 24 years in software development, being CTO and CEO, working in some successful and some not too successful startups in my past, I would say that presentations to attract investors and lead developer/CTO shouldn't be any different from point of the person starting the company.

Individual investor or developer may want to see different things due to their own biases, but both of them are investors into your venture, one with money and connections and another with his work and his connections. Alternatively developer can sell his work and invest money into your venture, so both of them are equal on that.

 Difference in need of return of multiples doesn't play here in any way. But developer usually would do MVP in weeks-month and then it will be your turn to get funding to increase developer's pay/return on his investment. Also, under US Federal and State Laws you must pay developers at least a minimum wages if you exercise a level of control over them as over employees. But if developer does his work independently with your "hands off", then he is independent contractor and minimum wages doesn't play here.

So while investor doesn't see return until company is sold or goes public, developer should see some return in a form of a salary after MVP more or less.

As a developer I would want to make sure that it's an investable idea, team or person. That they have track record of doing things and level of intelligence of not doing stupid mistakes, that it's a novel idea and market is not full of copy cats, that startup has some edge other competitors don't and not likely to get, that there is a problem that many people are having and willing to pay for solution of it, that it's cost effective to acquire customers, that the market is big or have signs of growing and not shrinking.

That the person or each person in the team I will be working with is smart, not selfish, creative problem solver, negotiator, has mentor mentality, has good temperament, not vindictive, go-getter, doesn't dwell on past problems or afraid of future once that he gets analysis paralysis.

And most of all, that he has money or financial support from others to work on the project 24/7 for 4-12 month. Because without that you are an employee that wanna be founder. After initial MVP developers doesn't have to be full time based on circumstances, they could be on call, but business people need to drive business full time.