One of the ongoing questions in the startup world is around the importance of having a technical co-founder. The idea is that by having a strong technical person on the founding team, the startup will be able to move faster, make more intelligent architectural decisions, and build a better product. Several days ago PandoDaily published an article about Quotidian Ventures and their focus on “founders who have domain expertise in large, opaque old school industries.”
I agree that having a technical co-founder is great, but is no longer a requirement. Here are a few reasons why it isn’t as important as it used to be:
- Cloud computing, and specifically Amazon Web Services, are much better understood and have more ready-to-use scripts and tools that remove many of the previous challenges
- Languages and frameworks, like Ruby on Rails, have significantly reduced the learning curve to not only get up-and-running but to also be productive in a short amount of time
- Pre-built libraries to build interfaces, like Bootstrap, enable the development of high quality front-ends, and new tools have emerged enabling non-technical people to build interfaces, like Divshot
Now, if the founding team doesn’t include a technical person, the first hire should be an in-house lead engineer. Overall, a technical co-founder is no longer a requirement and domain expertise with an idea in a big market is much more important.
What else? What are your thoughts on the idea that domain experts no longer require a technical co-founder?