Analytics · Business intelligence

Should I Seek a Sales or Product Non-Technical Cofounder?

Alyssa Kwan Co-Founder and CTO of Celestium Computing

April 2nd, 2018

I'm a technical founder looking for my other half. I have a core piece of computer science innovation that could be used in different ways, and the current concrete concept I have landed on is a PaaS for automatically handling the technical aspects of data engineering for most common types of data warehouses and lakes. I believe it would drastically lower barrier to entry for organizations to start using data science, enabling small businesses in particular to optimize their sales, marketing, and operations without needing to find that initial data hire or build out a data team.


Given that:

* In typical computer scientist / software engineer fashion, I have a solution in search of a problem.

* Testing the core value proposition - that it's possible to automate away at least the 95% hardest technical aspects of data infrastructure - is key, and is probably focused on usability by non-technical staff of a client.

* I would probably need to line up pilot customers to do the iterative development and testing with, enough of them such that whatever cash I can get out of them would sustain the business. (Ideally, of course, I don't take on investment, but realistically, I need to at least have ramen cash flow because my personal capital situation is limited.)


Should I focus my cofounder search on a salesperson, preferably one with IaaS or PaaS sales experience into small- and medium-sized businesses; or should I focus on a product person with experience in doing the nigh-anthropological study of usability? Or someone else altogether?

Dimitry Kushelevsky

April 2nd, 2018

Hi Alyssa,

It sounds like you''re working in an interesting space. As s both a sales exec and a "business-side" entrepreneur myself, I would strongly recommend going through a business planning/validation step vs. jumping straight into sales mode. Teaming up with a sales pro may get you in the door with someone who may test your product, but that would mean you'll be relying on the pilot sponsor to figure out how your solution could solve his problem. Hope this helps! I'd be happy to provide some more insights - feel free to connect if you'd like more detail.

Julian Colina Director of Engineering (Startup Growth Specialist)

April 2nd, 2018

Hi Alyssa,


As a technical founder myself if your exact situation time and time again. I've found a problem, formulated an elegant solution, and am ready to start getting off the ground. I found the next steps to be one of the hardest parts in the process. I can't stress how crucial it is for your business to both validate your assumptions and find some early adopters. The less known reality is that it is equally important for your own morale to do these things. The excitement of seeing the first few sales come through the door often have gotten me to the next phases of my business. The unfortunate reality is that those first few sales prove to be the most difficult, and lack thereof often trigger the exact opposite emotions. This can hurt your business for the obvious reasons, but it can also diminish your morale. For these reasons, I would suggest like other here, to find yourself a sales relationship. Finding a perfect co-founder is a difficult task, so I'm not stressing that as much as finding yourself someone to help you validate your assumptions and get some initial sales off the ground. If you find a perfect match, by all means capitalize on it but I wouldn't put so much pressure on it at this point in the process. After all, a co-founder is like a spouse. You will have to be together for a very long time. The most important part of this phase of your business is validation through initial sales. Find someone to help you do this and don't get bogged down with the details of finding a perfect co-founder.



Hope you found my answer helpful, just speaking through experience. In fact, I had this problem so many times I ended up creating a site to help other technical cofounders with this exact phase in their business. It's called ww.githustle.com and it's early stages but feel free to check it out! You can post your project/business and get connected with someone willing to help with initial sales. It's for developers and sales alike so they can both benefit and help each other out.


Again, this phase of your business is not only difficult, but it's critical. Just find someone to help you out validate your assumptions with some sales and get that business started off on the right foot! Best of luck to you!




Steve Owens

April 2nd, 2018

It is very difficult to find a co-founder. Everyone wants to be rich, but few want to do the work it takes to achieve wealth. Your chances of finding someone are not good. I would be looking for consultants to help figure things out, not a co-founder. Don't worry too much about hiring anyone until you have a proven business model and know you can scale.


Having said that, your looking for someone who compliments your talents (not skills). Likely someone who has a knack for business development. Talent is innate - skills can always be learned - so focus on the talent part. Also, make sure they are truly someone who can go for the long term and not bail at the first sign of trouble.



Okoye Ikechukwu-Maria Nnamdi Hyacinth Managing Partner, McAgnus-Dei Associates (but may change in due course)

April 4th, 2018

Hmm Alyssa,

I should begin my contribution with asking a few questions: have you found what need(s) your product will satisfy? Have you done a pilot test to see how it meets market needs? Are you in the process of commercializing the product? Are you looking for marketing outfit or a production assistance? Have you done your production costing to determine the cost of the product and your selling price sine your funding source is limited? Have you thought of the relationship that will exist between you and the new entrant ( whether as co-founder in which case the person is making some contribution to the business) or as an employee in which case you have to pay wage for services offered? Do you have a business plan for this project?

What I have tried to do here is to direct your mind to what you actually want to do. You do not take such decisions without first analyzing the situation to find out what you lack and needs to be filled. Unless your product is not completely developed for commercialization, in which case you are looking for someone to complement your effort, you do not need a technical co-founder. You may have to employ technical persons to assist in the production and sales persons to do the marketing - one or two of each depending on the engineering process and the production volume. But you must first finish your homework along the line of my questions. Do not be in a hurry to hit the market yet. First things first and you will smile at last.

Chowdari Babu Founder @ ismac.io

April 4th, 2018

I can help validate your product , looking at tech solution , and the use cases it can solve . Pls feel free to connect and explore

Stefan Lilienkamp Dedicated entrepreneur and growth hacker with a passion for people and outsourcing solutions

April 5th, 2018

It may sound horrible and shocking for you but you as the founder and visionary are the only person who can communicate to potential customers and to evaluate the market potential of your start-up.


Good news is that you once overcame the miss judgement, that you are just the developer who dives into technology and technical features you will discover that talking with customers and getting their feedback on your product ideas will greatly benefit and satisfy your developer mind as well.


Any market idea requires validation before you even start with the product design. Successful founders are visionaries but are also great sales people. Selling your own vision to clients is easy for you as it is fueled by your enthusiasm and drive to get your idea to life.


As Dr. Evil used to say, "if you want to get something really badly done do it by yourself". Outsource rather the product development part as you will be able to supervise that part of the business easily.

rakesh ravindran Founder and CEO @ SKIP

April 4th, 2018

hi , i am looking for a cofounder with technical knowledge ᐧ

Vibhor Verma Blockchain tech Entrepreneur

April 5th, 2018

Finding a non technical cofounder is like a piece of cake. I am a non technical and I was looking for a tech person. It is so hard to find a tech person. If you are a tech person and having difficulty finding a non tech person you are doing something wrong, may be focus on networking. Go to different meet up in Bay Area. Lastly, if you still don’t have any luck msg me and I will validate your idea. :))

John Hrzic Growth Marketer, Entrepreneur, Advisor, Seeking investor & partner/co-founder for SaaS project

April 6th, 2018


### Growth Marketing

the process of testing acquisition and retention strategies aligned with frameworks that evaluate and measure the potential outcome of an experiment based on cost, time, and expected result.


### Growth hacking

is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing funnel, product development, sales segments, and other areas of the business to identify the most efficient ways to grow a business.


Growth Marketers have marketing, sales and a technology background. If you are looking to enter the SMB market and launch a new SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS you are going to someone who also specialized in SMBs. Of course, this will depend on what your definition of small and medium size businesses. I consider businesses with 150 people or less an SMB.


This is the time to launch applications to SMBs. This market can be difficult and would suggest that you provide examples of how SMB would incorporate your product/application. You may consider hiring a after effects expert and design a video pitch.


Just assume you are presenting your application to a 10 year old.