Outsourcing · Finding cofounders

More co-founders vs outsourcing. Which works best?

Brendan Votano

December 27th, 2015

At the moment I have an idea that I have done up some sketches/wireframes for and a rough business plan. It is a mobile and web app that is not overly complex technically.
My skillsets sit in the middle of the fence when it comes to business and tech.
I do have some technical skills (Design/UX and basic back-end), though for this project I would need to learn a lot more to get the functionality right.
My business plan is in need of more thorough work, so it would be better if done by someone with a stronger business background, though I could get there to a degree with more time.
So, my options are:
  1. Get a business co-founder and spend time learning and working out the tech.
  2. Get a technical co-founder and work on the business side
  3. Look to find 2 other co-founders (1 for tech & 1 for business) and I can focus on design, PR and some of the tech
  4. Find a business co-founder and outsource the tech. I would then become intermediary between the outsourced coder and what we will be doing in house.
In the ideal world everything would be done in house but I'm not sure if that is the best way for this project to go ahead. It would be mostly done on a part/free time basis until a prototype has been completed. For me to learn the technical side would take a lot more time than getting someone with the experience to build the prototype and I can focus my time on other aspects.

So my questions are:
  1. Is it realistic to have 3 co-founders for this project? 
  2. Would it be better to go the outsourcing route? 

Does anyone have any experiences with outsourcing or multiple co-founders?


León Lassovsky

December 28th, 2015


3 co-founders sounds right for most projects, including yours. For any technical startup I advise to have the developer on board. Doing so will allow you to move fast with the strongest commitment by the techy.

Rather than a business co-founder I would look for a sales professional. Fast growth (meaning sales) is way more important than any previous strategy.

Reading the “Lean start up” will help you clear ideas.

Steve Owens Startup Expert

December 28th, 2015

You can and should outsource both the biz function and the technology function - if you need some reference, just shot me an email.

It is important to keep the team very small until you know you have a repeatable business model. In all likelihood you will pivot several times before this point.  Putting on "experts" will make it less likely you will pivot as they will almost certainly suffer from the "I am a hammer, so everything is a nail" syndrome.  True entrepreneurs are very rare - don't let anyone on your team that is not a true entrepreneur until after you have a repeatable business model.

Awab Ahmad CEO, at i9 Systems

December 28th, 2015

I have had the same dilemma, I wanted to start up, a new company, did not had the technical skills required to do so. What i did was to take on board a trustworthy friend, with technical know how. 1 year down the road, i take care of the business and human resources, and he takes care of the technical side. We are equal share holders, in the company, and without his sweat and blood, i could not have made this far. Taking on technical experts, always carries the risk that they know more than you do, and they will take you on a joy ride, when it comes to costing. This risk can be eliminated/reduced by consulting with more than

Mark Wing Client Engagement Director at Small Back Room

December 28th, 2015

Reading between the lines I would say you are right to want to build the team (in house). If you go the outsource route you may find yourself building a life style business... In the short term you may do quite nicely, but will you be building something of value (as perceived by others). It's different for everyone - your call.

Zhenya Rozinskiy Partner at Mirigos

December 27th, 2015

You probably need more help on a business side than on a technical. I would suggest considering finding an adviser that can help you with outsourcing. Outsourcing tech has some advantages and disadvantages but doing it at this stage might allow you to focus on your core - designing and expanding your product.

Rob Guilfoyle Founder @ abe.ai

December 28th, 2015

Brendan, you should be as honest with yourself as possible. If your idea really does need a mobile app and a web app, it's unlikely your going to be able to build it yourself with basic backend skills, at least in a timely manner. I would suggest going to local technical meetups or a startup weekend event to gauge some tech Guy's/Gal's interest and then focus on the business side. Find product market fit as soon as you can with the most simple idea, then get a business oriented person to help you do things like pricing strategies, marketing strategies, etc. Good luck! 

Neil HereWeAre Want To find-close Business Online without competition Before They Google Search? We solve this problem 1(508)-481-8567

December 28th, 2015

More co-founders vs outsourcing. Which works best? How does one answer that question?

First of all, did you research and prove that a large enough need that folks will want and pay for actually exisits/ Do you know why folks want what you will build and woulsd part with cash for it? Do you know how to reach your ideal target audiences that fit the above so you can get a conversation goingb that leads to a sale?

If you dont know that actual, not guessed answers to theses questions, you are not ready to ask and answer your stated question. Why org and go forward on an unvetted idea?

Here's some help on howto answer your question in a way that can work for you-and yes, be brutally honest when you do.

What you think folks want and the reasons you offer to attract paying customers  are often incorrect and unfortunately fail in its objective because of those assumptions you have made.

Missing this mark is preventable as is getting it right very probable with a little up front homework. You can, with a few easy steps and ways of thinking get your messaging right so it does connect with and gain customers.

Try these steps and ways of thinking for doing that:

1. People do things for their reason’s not yours

If you have not done the in depth homework to see how a target audience thinks, what it cares about and how to link what you want to what they want so joining in makes sense, you probably will be disappointed in your results.

2. Its hard to “hear” folks with a background in messaging and connecting for getting results trying to tell you that.

That’s because your Belief in your direction is so strong in you that  you think that everyone will agree and want to join in. You get blinded by that belief and it prevents you from being objective about how best to get followers and participants.
Even hearing the communication “experts” saying things like “folks just do not care about that” referring to your pet project, being so caught up in the value of your idea, you resist their expert advice. Its just too hard on you and your deep seeded beliefs, values to accept what they say.

3. You can not just wish things into reality.

If the audience has or sees no real buy in nor reason that, to them, resonates and says “that’s me-that’s exactly what I need to do and I am doing it” your message and recruiting efforts will fail.  There’s just to many “you need to do this” messages bombarding us so its critical that you do what is suggested in this step in the way you reach out to folks.

4. Looking at our core traits and what we are really good at, we should honestly see what we are good at and not good at and accept it. Then farm out what we are not good at to someone who is.

If we are not marketing types and we want our idea to connect, get the marketing type to figure out how to do that. 

5. Its not ego, its pragmatism that should govern how you and your strengths and weaknesses are played out in trying to make something happen.

“Why go it alone when you don’t have to?”   Why risk failure trying to do what you know you are not good at,  especially something as important as gaining willing participants?.
This is especially true when you want to influence people, their thoughts, manage your messaging so you do gain traction for your idea or project amongst the many different types of audiences out there.

Knowing precisely how to do this with differing approaches that resonate with differing target audiences is how you get to “yes, that’s exactly what I need and I want to do it” from the members of the target audiences you have identified as folks who could benefit from participating.   If you are not good at that, be brutally honest and let someone who is great at that help you by doing that part for you.

Failure is a learning experience but you can, especially if you want to create active participation in something,  avoid failure if you can adopt the thinking of what’s been suggested here in this post.

And remember a  very simple but useful way of thinking as you try to go and gain joiners and participants:

  • 1.”People do things for their reason’s not yours
  • 2. Imagine the prospect or target audience has a sign on their forehead that says so what!” ( copywrite-Neil Licht, Axioms for success in selling, motivating and getting to yes)

Living those two axioms  when charting connecting, influencing and getting participants goes a long way to realizing success for gaining acceptance of your idea,event  It  goes a long way for you in getting folks to participate and willingly join in with your “vision” and, for their reasons, not yours, make it theirs as well.


Ian Morrison

December 29th, 2015

There is no absolute right answer here as all depends on objectives, skill sets and the relationship that you can develop with your partners.

My experience as a professional technology co-founder tells me that time together to bond over a common vision is key.

Our successes have come when folks have flown half way round the world to spend a week at our dev shop to work together on strategy, product vision, creative direction and technology planning. Once normed and formed and empowered with a rich knowledge of the team and how best to work together we can fall back to digital communications, operating as a supplier/employee with an equity kicker that aligns us economically for the long term.

Get in touch to explore how best we could help you.

Skype: descendantOfSmith

Suresh Neti Software Outsourcing Advisor | Custom Software & Product Development

December 28th, 2015

(I agree with Zhenya.) You should first get your business plan right. For the technical implementation, as there may not be a lot of work (from what you say), I suggest that you hire someone locally. 

Mike Snyder Advisor at Fargreen

December 28th, 2015

Brendan, 2 or 3 co-founders is fine IMHO, but not more than that.  It all depends on your co-founder chemistry, and the needs of your customer.  Talk to the customer first, and then figure out or adjust your solution/tech, if possible.  Outsourcing tech/engineering talent for a startup was once the kiss of death (someone knows more than your team about the product and how customers would use it), but in some markets it now works.  I would still be careful here though.  Do not agree to pay anyone anything, including experts and consultants.  If you have something good that you are willing to bet your career on (& you have a thorough understanding of your customer!!) others should be willing to advise and help you for some small chunk of equity, in most cases.