From fintech, healthcare, insurance, and education to real estate, and more, today we can see tech startups emerging in all fields. Young startup founders are striving to build digital products that solve the unique problems of the modern world. However, not every startup has a tech founder behind its success. Several multimillion-dollar companies are founded by people from non-technical backgrounds.
The founder of the e-commerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma whose real name is Ma Yun, comes from a non-technical background. By qualification, Jack Ma is an English graduate who also initially worked at Hangzhou Dianzi University as an English teacher. His struggle consists of two failed ventures before he managed to build Alibaba with the help of his 17 friends. Despite having no technical background, Jack Ma today owns the biggest e-commerce company in the world and is the richest person in China.
The trail of the success of non-technical startup founders does not just end here. Another innovative example is Airbnb, founded by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia. Two non-technical people, who were unemployed moved to San Francisco in 2007 in the search of work but were unable to find accommodation. This is when they decided to purchase a few airbeds and put them up on a website for nightly rentals. Later, Nathan Blecharczyk joined them as a technical co-founder after which the website was changed, and the startup progressed further. In 2021, Airbnb locked a revenue of $4.81.
Being a non-tech startup founder can sound scary especially when the startup ecosystem majorly consists of tech ninjas making their way in. Nonetheless, the best part of choosing to become a startup founder in this age is having easy access to technology. This means whether you are a linguistics graduate or an arts diploma holder, you are not barred from using technology. Today, founders have multiple options to kick start their startups with the help of multiple tools and online utilities. Here is what you can do…
To begin with the product development, whether you are a technical or non-technical founder, you will need to work on product discovery and validate the idea. Once the idea is validated, you will need working software which the initial users can consume.
A prototype is an early sample of a digital product developed to understand the feasibility of the idea. It does not need to be a fully functional product but needs to show a clear concept of how it may work. On the other hand, an MVP – Minimum Viable Product is the first version of the digital product fit for your target consumers with just the right set of basic features. MVP is developed with enough features to test the concept of the product’s workability and scalability.
As a non-technical founder, one might find it difficult to develop a prototype and an MVP. But worry not, there are multiple ways of bringing a startup product to life! Here is what can be done:
Use No-Code Tools
The technology industry is booming, and every problem today has a modern solution. Where the tech world was once dependent on coding, now people have some wondersome no-code tools to help them. Similar solutions are available in the market for non-technical founders who choose to develop an MVP on their own. Multiple web-based solutions today allow non-technical founders to build their products without coding. Some of the more popular tools are:
These tools are user-friendly, but for a fact, not everyone is comfortable working with them, hence alternates are always there to help.
Another efficient way for non-tech founders to build an MVP is by hiring freelancers. This is also a good way to get your product developed if running out of time and budget. However, guaranteeing the quality of the product can be a bit risky in this case. To make sure that the product is built with just the right features, a founder needs to be clear about the specifications of the software. Here are some popular platforms to find freelancers:
Hire a Tech Team
Founders often find that working with freelancers results in poor management and product quality. Hiring an in-house technical team can be a possible solution to move forward while assuring better quality. Some of the professionals who might need to be hired include:
- Product Managers
- User Experience Designers
- Frontend Engineers
- Backend Engineers
- Cloud Engineers
- Machine Learning Engineers
Building a team can be more difficult than building the actual product sometimes. In this situation, the best way to hire professionals for your team is to look around your circle and find the perfect match.
Some platforms to find potential employees:
Whether a non-technical founder chooses to build its MVP on its own, decides to hire freelancers, or chooses to build its team, one will still need a technical co-founder to survive in the ecosystem. But why is that so? Investors are usually reluctant in investing into startups that do not have a solid technical force backing them up. This means that a non-technical founder can build a startup but will need a technical co-founder for support in the longer run.
Find a Technical Co-Founder
Once a founder decides to build an MVP, the ideal way to take it forward is by working with a technical co-founder. Yet, founders term it as the most difficult way of progressing their startup. The reason is, that finding an ideal technical co-founder can be tough. It is hard to find someone who not just understands your startup ideology but is also determined to partner up for facing uncertainties together. Working with a technical co-founder requires mutual trust and understanding for building a company together.
Finding a technical co-founder is nonetheless a difficult process. One can always start by looking into their circle and trying to find an ideal technical partner for the startup. They can also use platforms built to find co-founders:
Partner with a Product Studio
Partnering with a product studio is a better way for a non-technical founder to quickly develop and launch their product. Product Studios are specialised companies which exclusively work with startup founders and help them through every stage of the startup journey. Product Studios typically have mature processes and skills to avoid common pitfalls in the startup journey.
Partnering with a product studio means that founders no longer need to find a technical co-founder, or hire freelancers or teams of their own. If the startup is successful in the early stages and starts to grow, then an in-house team can be hired at a later time. However, product studios provide a quick path to product launch and eliminate the need for co-founder or tech team in the initial stages.
Venturenox is a product studio which has worked with over a dozen startup founders and help them build companies of their dreams.