4 reasons why it makes sense to have a maker-founder on your startup team

Kennedy Nuñez
4 reasons why it makes sense to have a...

Successful startup founders are well aware that they cannot grow their companies on their own. It’s essential to have other talent on your team who can contribute fresh ideas and put in the work needed to launch a new company from the ground up. If you’re a non-technical founder, now is the time to hire a maker-founder for your tech startup. 

But what exactly is a maker-founder? To put it simply, a maker-founder is someone on the company’s founding team that knows how to build the product. For example, if you run a cyber security software company, the maker-founder on your team is well-versed in all of your platform’s coding and possibly even the cyber-security industry. We’ll refer to maker-founders as programmers to make better use of words.

Still not persuaded that a programmer is a must-have on your founding team? Here are four compelling reasons why they should be.

Reduce costs

Let’s imagine you’re just getting started. You have an idea for a new software application, but you need to make it a reality. Before pitching to investors, you must first develop your idea into a minimum viable product (MVP). More importantly, you must find a way to create your MVP at a low cost, which will lower your financial risk while allowing you to test your assumptions to determine the viability of your idea. The best way to accomplish this is to have a programmer on your team who can assist you in exchange for a percentage of ownership in the startup. The fact is, building software doesn’t come cheap.

In order for you to have a great partnership, this person must share your passion for the idea and be committed to investing the necessary time and energy it takes to build a startup from scratch. They must also be an experienced developer in the software language of choice, as it’s vital not to waste time or money at this critical stage. If you don’t know where to even look for a tech co-founder, GitHub, AngelList and tech conferences are great places to start. You can also reach out to your professional network and ask for any referrals of potential programmers interested in joining a startup. Also, consider asking directors of local startup accelerators for advice and potential referrals.

Improve funding opportunities

 With an MVP in hand, you’re now ready to pitch investors to land funding for your startup. As a result, you’re probably looking into accelerator programs to assist with finance and development. You go over all of the accelerator’s prerequisites and then it hits you like a ton of bricks. “Must have a maker-founder on the team,” reads the fine print. Don’t break out in a cold sweat just yet — this isn’t required by most accelerator programs, but it certainly helps. Sputnik ATX, an accelerator program in Austin, TX, for example, prefers to have makers on board with startups they consider because ”when someone has more skin in the game, they can do a lot more” said Amanda Eakins, associate of Sputnik ATX.

So what better way to increase your chances of landing funding opportunities than by bringing someone on the team who has more skin in the game?

Ability to focus on other startup initiatives

Imagine that you received capital from investors and you’re trying to figure out how to make good use of it. Where should you distribute the funds? If you already have a reliable programmer (or programmers) on your startup team, then you know that they can handle some or most of that requirement. With product development running smoothly, you can confidently put your new funds and focus toward other activities that will benefit your startup, such as PR, marketing, or hiring more talent, to name a few.

As a founder, it’s critical to devote more time to your startup’s other vital initiatives. After all, the goal is to be successful and profitable. What good is a fantastic product if you don’t have any customers to sell it to? 

A unique talent and perspective

Having other people on your founder team who can provide resources you can’t is a terrific way to speed up your tech startup’s growth. Programmers, in particular, provide a distinct talent and perspective for a variety of reasons, including their ability to create MVPs and develop additional product functionality. 

Coders are able to come up with new ideas for solutions that produce measurable outcomes, improve processes and save time, all of which can be valuable at the pre-seed stage of a startup. 

Whether you’re still in the idea phase of your startup or you’ve already started building your MVP, it’s always a good idea to consider bringing on someone with technical expertise who can help accelerate your early-stage startup’s growth.

About Kennedy Nunez: Kennedy is a Business Development Associate for Swyft, which is a tech PR firm in Austin and Houston and a top digital marketing and PR agency in Denver since its founding in 2011. Swyft also has a small satellite office where it offers tech PR in San Francisco. Swyft has been listed as one of the top tech PR agencies in Texas for two years running by the B2B services review site, Clutch.co.

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