Engineers · Building a team

How do I assemble a team to build a company ?

Arkadiy Okhman

January 30th, 2016

Hello, I am an industrial designer, previously I worked as an automotive designer for an OEM and also an industrial company. Six months ago I started on a project to invent a tech device. Now this device is in process of being patent and I need to put a prototype together. However, it's hard to work as a one man show, I need to assemble a good, honest team (engineers, advertisement, management and etc) to join the company that will include a share of the company's equity stake. How do I accomplish that? Here is my website:

Thank you.


January 30th, 2016

I was looking for cofounders for 4 years, here at FounderDating and on (or is it CoFoundersLab?), plus occasionally at meetups and other placds and found almost no one. I found two people, but they were only willing/able to put in a few hours a week, atop their day jobs. Most people seemed to be already committed to things or they needed a salary. At a hacker dojo presentation I found one entrepreneur with a slightly overlapping product- he almost joined me...

So I put up ads on (similar to and others, but costs per click-through, so ended up costing about $160 for 2 ads, instead of $300/ad) for a Marketing VP/Head and a Software Lead, with "EQUITY ONLY till June" in the title, and found two great people who are local! They both have jobs, but they're both willing to put in a lot of hours as contractors for stock (vesting in 3 years, with a short cliff.)

So now I have a team of 3!  Plus an offshore development team that I hired. I think I'll be able to devote myself to sales half time this week, and hopefully 6 hours or more a day thereafter!

I'm still looking for a good advisor- someone with political contacts. I don't know how to find them yet...

Steve Owens Startup Expert

January 30th, 2016

There are no easy answers to this questions.  In short, past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior.  Find people that have already done (and done it successfully) what you need done.  

Deciding who to hire, and what to outsource, is another key decision.  You might want to read this:!why-product-development-is-different-in-/cafv

Kevin Carney Content Marketing works, but needs better tools.

January 30th, 2016

If what you're asking about is how to share equity, buy and read the book Slicing Pie by Mike Moyer. It's the fairest system of sharing equity I've come across. Kevin Carney *Inbound Marketing University * 650-444-1318

Rob Gesse VP, Global Social Strategy at Rackspace, the #1 managed cloud company

January 30th, 2016

Arkadly, hire the people you feel comfortable that you know how to hire. In this case probably engineers. Then trust them to help you hire sales, marketing, etc. If you hire the right people, they will help you find and hire the rest of the right people. Hire as slowly as you can (for a number of reasons). I would also suggest you hire people you get along with, but not friends. Those hires may turn into friends later but I've never had good luck when I hired friends.


January 30th, 2016

There are companies that'll build a prototype for you. If you sell them on the idea, they might fund it to be your manufacturer. Or you use it for your purposes and license it to them to use for other purposes.

Usually you don't advertise. I hired a marketing person to help develop the story, the rollout, the collateral and messaging for the site and a crowdfunding campaign and the PR. I could have hired a PR firm, but I couldn't find one that would take responsibility for everything at anything close to a decent price. I found one overseas that would handle enough- we might still use them. They're less expensive and take 2/3 from a successful crowdfunding campaign.

I'll be doing a lot of outreach (to get users) and advertising, but I'll be doing it all through partners. They send their users/members to my site, they get certain benefits.

For instance, if you work with a major retailer, they could announce it to their customers. And creating a buzz for it on places like ProductHunt, reddit and others is something that happens through marketing. Rarely do startups do much advertising, except in small amounts to measure responses.

Another possibility is to find a specialty retailer to sell it, instead of advertising. Or find a partner to bundle it. Say you're making a special kind of wifi headphone that changes the left/right balance based on your orientation (so changes when you turn.) You might approach Bose or some other specialty manufacturer that would want to bundle your headphones with their product.


January 30th, 2016

Alicia, I just read their resumes and talked to them and checked references a bit. For the marketing person, I looked to see he had done the kinds of things I wanted him to do, and I asked a friend who's in marketing to look over his resume.

For the software person, I'm just taking someone bright with a good background. She doesn't have the exact software skills we need- the team I hired has them- she'll focus on ensuring the needs of the product are met.

If I'm successful, I'll tell you more, but mostly I'm going by gut feel. And I'm staying in close contact to ensure all the bases are covered and it all makes sense. Hiring software people is harder, in my opinion. I like the off-shore team I hired, but it's hard to tell at this point... Contact my first name at and I'll give you their contact info if you want. They seem to have made a lot of good products.

A friend of mine partnered with a guy that has his own team and shop. I think she found him at 

Sachin Naik

January 31st, 2016


Have you tried reaching out to universities and colleges in your area? You may be able to put together a team there to work on this as a "project". Good universities have structured programs around stuff like this.

If the team that works on a project like this are into what you are doing you could potentially have a great talent pool to build your team from.

Alicia RPh Healthcare IT Project Manager/Medication Management Specialist

January 30th, 2016

Rand, how did you vet the hires that you found on I am in a similar situation myself where I need to take on a software lead as I am the business head, not a developer. Thanks in advance.

John Sechrest

January 31st, 2016

I think that forming teams looks a lot like Dating (so do others, hence the name of Founder Dating) 

My best guess at how to do this type of dating is to take on small projects with people, until you get a sense of who they are and where they want to go. That is why I like Startup Weekend as a form of founder dating. Invite people to work on a project (*Not your primary project, but in the same market segment *) and see if you still like them after the weekend. 

I am running Peer Learning groups, to help people with common interests find each other and to build skills. I am happy to work with you to get a peer learning group together , if you would find that useful. 

Arkadiy Okhman

February 1st, 2016

Thank you everyone, that was very helpful.