CTO search · Hardware

How to hire a CTO for a hardware company?

Jessica Linville CEO and Founder @ RWEDI Solutions, Inc. Seeking CTO (Mechanical Engineer)

August 17th, 2017

I need to hire a CTO for a water treatment company; however, I am having a hard time locating possible candidates via word of mouth. I have reached out to multiple people in my network but I am one of the only hardware startups in my network. I have thought about posting a job on Indeed or ZipRecruiter, or hiring a recruiter to find people for me but I worry that the responses will be overwhelming. Another important consideration is that the company's funding situation is very tight. They will likely not receive a salary until my next raise in 6-9 months. Suggestions?

Jennifer Ernst

August 20th, 2017

Look up People Connect, Max Shapiro. They specialize in placing people pre-funding. They work remotely, so I don't think location is a problem. Consider this an opportunity to double your network. Good luck!

David Pariseau

August 18th, 2017

An intern is not a CTO. If you have a well defined idea, and need someone to implement it, a consultant you could entice with some equity would be a better solution. But, if you truly need a CTO, someone with expertise and who has been down this road before then you're going to want someone who's been around the block. In my opinion.

Nathan Schattke

Last updated on August 24th, 2017

Have you thought of targeting graduate students of professors that work in the area of your technology. Obviously not just any CTO would work for you, you can not afford to hire both a technical manager and a technical expert. Grad students often have a lifestyle that lends to low wages, and a desire for that first job. Edit: Recent graduates and post docs as well as the professors contacts may be useful.

Niresh Agarwal Growth Strategist

August 18th, 2017

My suggestion would be to look for a technical founding partner who has vested interest to make it work. If you share the skills you are looking for, I would be happy to reach out within my network to connect you with anyone interested. If you need help identifying the skills or defining the role description, please feel free to direct message me here or on LinkedIn.

Jessica Linville CEO and Founder @ RWEDI Solutions, Inc. Seeking CTO (Mechanical Engineer)

August 23rd, 2017

The CTO I am looking for is an electrochemist. They should have in depth experience with electrodialysis (ED) or electrodeionization (EDI) stacks since the system is a hybrid between the two. We will eventually manufacture our own stacks so they need to be able to specify the system in detail and have experience working with contract manufactures to get the system made.


I would also like them to have experience with piping, pumps and control schemes in order to design the skid around the stack. I am working with an engineering firm to design the first system.

David Pariseau

August 17th, 2017

Jessica,

That does sound challenging, especially not knowing the details of what you're looking for exactly. I would certainly place an ad on one or more job-boards and explain the situation and then trash any shotgun applications that arrive without a cover letter or acknowledging your financing position. Be as clear as you can be about what you need. I likely have all the skills and more that you need, but I have a lot of irons in the fire at the moment, so I don't have a ton of bandwidth. But, feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this, or once I have a better feeling for your needs I may have some contacts I can put you in touch with. My direct email is dpariseau "at" tekplusinc "dot" com

Vladimir K. CTO, Engineer-Inventor, 15+ years of experience in IT incl. Management, Software, Hardware, Audit

Last updated on August 18th, 2017

Jessica, it's not a problem to find a CTO, however it's really difficult to hire a right CTO who can not only build exactly what you need but also meet deadlines and budget requirements. You can try to place an ad on linkedin or indeed.

Jessica Linville CEO and Founder @ RWEDI Solutions, Inc. Seeking CTO (Mechanical Engineer)

August 25th, 2017

The title isn't important. CTO, VP of Engineering, Head Engineer. I don't care what they are called. Today's resources is me. I am the only person in the company at this point. I can't do everything myself and I know I don't have the skills to do this task. I am technical, just not in this area. I am currently working with an engineering firm to build the first system but that isn't a long term strategy. It will also be important to have a team when I go to do my next round of funding.


  • They need to know how a basic ED/EDI stack works.
  • They need to be able to learn how the patented part of the tech changes the performance of the ED/EDI stack.
  • They need to be able to size the system for different size cooling towers
  • They need to be able to size and design the skid around the stack (Select pumps, valves, piping and so on)
  • They need to be able to design control system for the stack and cooling tower to work together
  • They will need to be able to reverse engineer the ED/EDI stack and work with contract manufacturers to reduce the cost once we validate the market interest.

I have licensed the technology from one of the national labs. If I integrate with a cooling tower OEM at this point, I will get almost nothing for the work that I have done. I need to grow the company to a point that an acquisition would be attractive personally.

Jessica Linville CEO and Founder @ RWEDI Solutions, Inc. Seeking CTO (Mechanical Engineer)

August 18th, 2017

I agree with David Pariseau. Interns are not a CTO. I am a Ph.D. Engineer in a different area. I want someone who knows more than me about the system. I do not have the time or knowledge to teach a student how to build this for me. The person needs to be able to work independently from Day 1. It they want to hire an intern to do the grunt work under them, that would be a different topic.

Hal Pluenneke Marketing Guy, Technical sales, Numerous Start-up

August 20th, 2017

You might find a masters level foreign student at a University who could take on the job as part of their technical training. If there are really good you may have to deal with visas H1B for example. If they can't stay they maybe a entry into a market out side the US