How does a bootstrapping startup organize an exceptional team with no budget?

I'm looking to make the next moves as a startup and need to look outside of the family / friend circle. Any suggestions? We're also looking to find a co-founder CTO that would share our mission.


This is a typical problem with any start-up, i.e. intention to trade everything for equity. I am assuming that you're trying to trade equity for cash. In that case I would suggest you to look out for individuals with diversified skills and competencies. The reason being, less the number of individuals less the amount of equity that would be required to trade.

Second option could be to look out for agencies to whom you could outsource the business process. I am not at all ashamed to mention that my own company is one such agency.

However, my only piece of advice to to try and add some retainership component to your model, apart from equity, as in a long term it's easier for people to lose motivation in absence of any capital gains. The reason being, people don't understand the value of equity in startup. Rather, the time it could take for that equity to turn into something big; it may not happen as well. That's why they say there's nothing called free lunch.

In my more than a decade experience working with entrepreneurs and helping them bootstrap, I have learnt that the market out there is crowded with individuals with a lust to join startup as a equity holder. In a short term, they may speak all those rosy language that may sound like coming directly from the Horse's mouth. But, in a long term you realize not everything is hunky-dory.

As far as finding a co-founder or a CTO or any other executive team member is concerned, ensure that you put down the roles and responsibilities attached with each title. Apart from above, ensure that you communicate your expectation lucidly and understand the values everyone is required to bring on the table.

Usual people who could be a good fit for you, apart from any agency, are people who aren't big on title.

Is there anything specific you're looking at? Please feel free to revert with more clarity to receive clarity. I am just a call away. All the best!!

Answered 8 years ago

I was hesitant when I was invited as a CTO in a startup few years ago, but eventually I got in.

Finding someone willing to commit in exchange for promising isn't easy. The main thing is for you to be excited and passionate about your idea and meet technical experts who would be willing to join your venture. Also, have a good idea of the expected ETA for your revenue plan.

A good example is ABC's reality show "Shark Tank" - the sharks wouldn't invest in a business owner who is not dedicated enough, and occasionally they'll invest in a founder since they believe that he or she can take the product to the next level, even if it's not there yet.

You can join some startup communities or attend technical conferences, or check with your university/high school friends who got involved with the tech world.

The only thing I'd keep in mind is that if your idea is not proprietary and you don't have any competitive advantage (such as being a recognized marketing expert, have tons of contacts in your niche), your idea may be implemented by someone else, so make sure you're adding your bit on the table other than a good idea itself.

Let me know if you want us to discuss that further.

Answered 8 years ago

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