Lean startup · MVP Development

What are the challenges facing non-technical founders ready to build an MVP?

Lisa Retief Experienced software engineering leader and entrepreneur.

August 31st, 2017

I want to hear from non-technical folks who are ready to build a MVP but don’t have a clear idea of how they are going to get there. Perhaps you are weighing up finding the right technical co-founder versus outsourcing. Or maybe you are teaching yourself to code. I would love to hear what your top challenges are.

Radu Daniel cv30 - changing the way professionals find work. Searching - full stack dev, UX growth mk.

August 31st, 2017

Building an online product without a tech cofounder is flying a plane without any knowledge. If by some miracle you take the plane of the ground, it is even worse as a small crash at the ground could be contained but now the dam thing is in the air and there are passengers. The pulse now constantly around 180

Brian Putt Passionate software builder

September 1st, 2017

I'm technical and looking for something fun to do :)

niranjan k Founder of NTechsez

August 31st, 2017


This is not just something faced by non-tech founders, even tech founders face when the needed tech skills to build solution are out of his knowledge and difficult to learn.while, i completely agree wih @Radu Daniel 's answer, to overcome this 3 simple common elements help you

1)communication/presentation skills (non-technical/technical no difference) to raise seed fund and express your idea.i understood some angels fund for solid ideas.

2)money -(again your tech gets no weight on money) if you are wealthy and able to spend , then hire resources and work

3)leadership quality -- beats technical knowledge, yes if you have leadership skills , people love to work for you and things complete magically


4)"necessity is mother of invention" when nothing above working for you, lets learn and do it! after all business is full of hurdles,you become strong on how you overcome it.take tech challenge as one of it

-Niranjan K

Lisa Retief Experienced software engineering leader and entrepreneur.

August 31st, 2017

James Croft, I do like your approach, given that you did not start out with a CTO cofounder.

You are finding a way to move forward and gain momentum. Being able to demonstrate your vision, along with some funding, could well put you in a better position to attract the right CTO.

Getting mockups and business plans together and talking to both investors and target market sounds like good ways to keep the momentum and be better prepared for liftoff.

It gets trickier once you get to the dev team, particularly if it is not a straight forward contracting arrangement. I would be careful not to give away too much ownership at this stage. In addition, you want to pick the right bits of research and/or development to start off with, and for this it is always good to have either a trusted tech advisor or ideally co-founder.

My advise beyond that would really be informed by your particular context.

Damon Jenkins Founder of the next traffic monger social site. A visionary w/ 20 years of projects b4 us.

September 1st, 2017

Hi Lisa,

I'm an individual with MANY great, bankable, innovative ideas and unfortunately not the tech know how to create these visions alone. My mantra has been "I am eyes, I need hands". I now have a qualified CTO committed to one of my projects. However, I don't yet have the funds to pay him and his team. I'm currently involved in networking various contacts in search of an Angel who can see the vision.

Mandip Kanjiya Startup as a service in Dubai - Tech Person

September 2nd, 2017

For non technical founders its not clear how much to include into MVP like they have full idea but not sure from which prospect they can includes int MVP.

James Croft Looking for a developer Co-Founder to launch a social planning start-up.

August 31st, 2017

Hi Lisa, this couldn't be more relevant to me right now. I'm focusing on filling my gaps with the right knowledge and expertise from people in my network. Together we are working on getting the UX/UI and design done really well, a solid business plan with revenue predictions and then taking it out to angel/seed investors.

Getting a CTO Co-Founder on board is a priority for me once there is an MVP and traction.

I'm also working with a dev team who carried out a research project on the idea, as they're are interested in offsetting some dev costs in return for ownership.

What would your advice be?



Steve Sorenson New Founder - WangleSpace, Technologist, Consultant, Entrepreneur

August 31st, 2017

Hi LIsa, I've built 4 MVPs for my new venture http://wanglespace.com/video. First one was paper, then a framework to automate the paper prototype, then a better prototype environment, and finally, built a functional but limited app on the enterprise app framework SNAPPII. Without a technical co-founder, i.e. somebody on the team to build a real app, i'm looking at outsourcing to a local app dev company. Of course that means $$. With a beta under my belt and a little bit of traction, i'm now out looking for funding and new team members.

Peter Dwomoh Cofounder and CEO of Nowe Group. I'm an avid reader and I have an entrepreneurial blood.

August 31st, 2017

I am facing the challenge of getting a technical cofounder to partner with. I believe I have an amazing idea that is going to revolutionise the newspaper industry but getting a technical cofounder to lead the technical side of the business have been difficult. Currently, I'm learning to code but i believe it'll take about a year or more before I can be able to grasp all the knowledge of programming to be able to develop the prototype. I'll be very glad to get a technical cofounder who'll come on board for a rewarding equity in the business. I do not want to outsource.

Lisa Retief Experienced software engineering leader and entrepreneur.

August 31st, 2017

Steve Sorenson, I think it's fantastic that you built your first MVP with paper. I would love to understand a little better what the subsequent prototypes looked like, and how they contributed to your understanding of your ultimate product.

I think you are on to something with the market you are attempting to capture. I personally have used both Breather and Workfrom for on-demand workspace, and there is plenty of room for more and better offerings.

Have you selected your local dev firm and are you confident in that next part of the process?