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How you can build a startup as a non tech founder


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You don't need tech experience to launch an impactful startup. Learn how can you build an amazing company - without being a tech genius.

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How you can build a startup as a non tech founder

  1. 1. Founder Institute Insights How You Can Build a Startup as a Non-Tech Founder By Joe Garza
  2. 2. Intro Startups and innovative technology have become so synonymous with one another, that many people now think that you can’t create one without the other. And while it is necessary to have an understanding of the technology that you’re building, you actually don’t need to be a developer, engineer or computer scientist to launch an impactful company. You don't need tech experience to launch a meaningful startup. The Founder Institute can show you how. Apply today! If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to launch a tech startup but doesn’t have much tech experience, this presentation will give you the wisdom you need to build your dream company, featuring insights from Weiting Liu, the founder and CEO of Codementor.
  3. 3. Can Anyone Start a Company? ● You don’t have to have ANY tech experience to launch a tech company. ● If your goal is to build an app, your mission isn’t to learn how to build an app - your mission is to learn how to get things done. ● Even if you’re an experienced technical founder, your financial, marketing, or managerial skills may be lacking, which means you’ll have to adapt to the needs of your company and compensate. Bottom line: not being able to code is no excuse to not build a company, as coding is only one of many tasks.
  4. 4. How Do You Build a Company Without Tech Experience? ● It’s getting easier and easier for someone to create a tech product without a degree in engineering or computer science. ● There are numerous platforms that enable users to build apps without any coding experience, which is a great way for budding founders to build a minimum viable product (MVP). ● At the very least, non-tech founders now have the resources that allow them to at least build a mockup of their offering to attract the interest of those with the expertise to build a more finalized product.
  5. 5. Do You Need a Technical Co-founder Early On? ● If you can make changes to your project based on user feedback on at least a weekly schedule, recruiting a technical co-founder at this stage is not necessary (but it can be useful if you do find a technical co-founder early on). ● Especially since your product is basically the company itself, doing as much work by yourself will save you time and money. ● While it may be tempting to outsource your code to a freelancer, this isn’t recommended, as the iteration cycle is far too long to make any meaningful progress on your product.
  6. 6. Learn How to Communicate with Developers You can’t write good requirements if you don’t understand the technology of your product. All modern technology systems consist of a front end and a back end, so learn how these work as they pertain to your product. ● Front end: what a user sees on a website, software, or app. ● Back end: exists on the servers, and features the database, the application layers, etc. that process the data and presents information to the front end. IMPORTANT: Focus on the primary function of your product. If your product’s core function is weak, no amount of flashy features are going to make your product stronger.
  7. 7. How to Build Your First Product Without Tech Develop your Minimum Viable Product (MVP), the simplest thing that you can show to customers to get the most learning at that point in time. MVPs don’t require extensive tech expertise, and can help you validate your idea, too. Below are some MVP examples: ● Landing Page - Craft a landing page. Set-up a Google AdWords & Google Analytics. Measure the % of visitors that sign up. ● Concierge - Instead of providing a product, start with a manual service. The service should have the same steps a user would take to use your product. ● Piecemeal - In its early stages, Groupon was a combination of WordPress, Apple Mail, and AppleScript that generated PDFs manually as orders were received on the website. ● Wizard of Oz - Set up a front that looks like the real product, but do all the work manually.
  8. 8. Inhouse or Outsource? ● Try building everything yourself for as long as possible, or at least keep it in-house for as long as possible. ● During the early stages of building your product, you should directly oversee the core experience of your product, as you are the one getting the initial customer feedback. ● However, if you choose to outsource your user experience, you should only do so if the freelancer can have meetings with you on a daily basis and produce product iterations on AT LEAST a weekly basis.
  9. 9. Should You Hire a Product Manager? ● While this is not exactly common practice among startups (yet), hiring a product manager early on during the formative stages of a startup can yield some surprising benefits. ● Even without learning how to code, writing requirements for a product’s front end and back end, holding regular meetings with developers, planning product iteration deadlines are difficult tasks, even for non-tech founders. ● Hiring a product manager can be a potential shortcut for early stage non-tech founders.
  10. 10. Final Thoughts Starting a company is hard. It’s stressful and unpredictable and daunting. However, learning how to code is actually one of the easier aspects of launching a tech startup, even if it’s just a little bit. Technology is constantly changing, so it’s important to constantly keep abreast of current trends and to learn emerging methodologies. BOTTOM LINE: If you can keep up with the pace of technology, then you will be better equipped to keep up with the demands of your company.
  11. 11. Do You Want to Launch a Company? Most people who apply to the Founder Institute don’t have tech experience, but still manage to launch impactful companies. Don’t let a lack of expertise stop you from building the business of your dreams - apply to a Founder Institute chapter near you!