My startup was started March last year. I was fortune enough to find a part-time technical co-founder to join me in June last year. The situation now is we are about to launch our MVP (we have shown some traction and also part of accelerator program now). My CTO & co-founder has a full time job so he has limited time and energy for my startup. I have to hire a good developer with limited budget. How can I find such developer in London? the recruitment agency is asking for £10k per candidate. what shall I do?
I think you should try to hire a remote developer, I think this is one of the most popular form of work nowdays and you should find a good developer by this way as every remote job post reach a bunch of developers.
Your situation is not different than most of the tech startups. Good (as well as bad) thing is, you have few options in front of you.
1. Hire a full time CTO (which is not suitable as it will cost you a lot)
2. Hire a full time developer (If you hire him/her on NEED base, you will end up in wrong selection as they are not as passionate as you about the product. So, you must hire first set of executors who joins you because of the VISION you have and not the NEED you have.)
3. To cater to your urgent need, you can hire a small development firm for short term to work on the priority list of things. This is less risky for you as development firm look for long term relationships and to do so, they follow your vision to deliver the results in time and as expected. So, screening here becomes simple. Whosoever understands your vision better, and has skilled resources, will be your choice.
So, i think working with a development firm for now will give you time to hire the right candidate. And if you feel the development firm is good enough to deliver regular updates and they share similar values, you may get into a formal long term association agreement (with or without equity).
There are plenty of product development firms that would be happy to work with you. With a firm, you get a whole team, not just one guy. The team will have reference code, specialist and processes - lower cost and lower risk.
It's always better to have a local team - but I would not make it a deal breaker. It easy to work remotely these days.
So you have a "CTO & co-founder". My suggestion would be to take them off whatever they are doing and have them focus entirely on finding the full time developer. Most of the other suggestions on this are about finding somebody through consulting, remote workers, etc. But only the person who started this venture can judge the candidate on whether they will be able to take over the tech stack, have the right industry experience (or interest) in what you are doing.
Skip the recruiter. Setup a job posting, screen the candidates, do the interviews and find the right person for *you*. It is painful and time consuming, but the first full time dev could be the hire that makes or breaks a startup. Unfortunately, the CTO has to put the HR hat on for a bit.
I can help with that. If you accept remote workers, then Ill be glad to work on the idea if you find that I can fit in. As long as the idea adds new services/value, then I dont really care about money, at least at this early stage.
Feel free to contact me, thank you!
If you are looking for local developers you could release an job ad which would be very minimal and you can sort candidates from candidates. If you have job description I could reach out to my network and I could help you to find candidates at no cost to you.
Any other questions you might send me an message.
Have a look at www.world-coders.com
We also work with them and have our own dedicated developers; fanatic coders and at much lower costs.
The 10k per candidate aren't that unusual. Bigger companies spend up to 100k for a good candidate.
I'm a founder of such an agency and I can relate this topic. I've worked with internal as well as external developers as well as been the external developer.
No software agency can replace a CTO in your team on the long run just like that. A relationship between you and an agency is a different one than between you and somebody who holds equity in your company and is personally dedicated to you.
What an agency can do very well is to develop a first MVP. When we serve a client we start off with a template that usually contains 30% of what he needs already and that is what a sole developer cannot deliver. As a next step we cut down the number of features to only the core value proposition, which is way easier to do if you're external.
That makes an agency much faster and potentially a lot cheaper than a sole developer when it comes to creating a first MVP. (In addition to the obvious flexibility.)
On the long run an agency can support you but is obviously more expensive than an own developer. And always keep in mind that the vision is on you which is why on the long term you'll want to manage your own developers.
Concrete examples: I've seen startups lingering around with a developer for years and not getting anything done. That can cost a fortune with few results.
We're getting early stage functional MVPs done in a month or so, and so will others that specialize on helping startups for sure.
Not having a technical entrepreneur is not the apocalypse. There are more successful new businesses that began without one. Slack and Sumo are incredible cases of this.
You have a few ways to go:
1 Develop on Your Own
Learn to code and develop your idea to verify if you can find the early adopters.
Possible: If you have a lot of time and your time is worthless.
2 Starting with Sales & Marketing Team
Get up-front money and try to sell your idea, instead of focusing on building it first. It works somewhat better for courses, ebooks, SaaS and more.
when? If you have high sales/marketing skills.
3 Hiring Freelance Developer
Tell him what to do, what do you need, show the wireframes/mockups and get a ready MVP from him. The disadvantage here is, that probably if you will hire a developer you will buy only one set of skills and it will be hard to have a feedback, UI/UX consultation, business consultation, product advice. You will get a properly coded app.
When? If you finalize your idea and have experience with building that kind of businesses.
4 Building a Prototype
You can design a low-fidelity prototype with idea like this (only with sketches): POP | POP - Prototyping on Paper.
When? When you have some skills: design, research & content writing.
5 Hiring Agency
It only makes sense, if you find an agency with free/low cost services.
Hire employees with following skills:
Experienced in building MVPs/Startups Experienced in design & development.
Having more skills than only Software Development - Able to advise you on a product side, business side, UI/UX.
When? When you have a budget (even small) and need a help of professionals.
Consider all those points above and choose the right solution for you. Also, if you are interested consider the sixth option too. [i.e, Outsource your work]
Be that as it may, I feel your torment. It can be startling to outsource your MVP when improvement is a black box to you. You may think, "There's a risk of outsourcing my startup idea/mvp to software agency, because they can steal the idea/I don’t understand a code”.
To get the things done easily within your budget and for getting faster results, what I would say is outsource your project requirements from cost effective countries like India.