🔗 Listen to the full podcast for free on our Love the Podcast platform.

You’re the Founder of a start-up, and one of the first assumptions you’ll probably make is you must hire a Chief Technical Officer (CTO), before you invest into scaling your tech team. It’ll be one of your first major team hires and recruitment is often a joy, as you’re able to offer some equity and a hope-filled promise, rather than a high salary. It’s tempting right? They’re going to lift a burden from you- phew! You can leave the technical strategy and know-how to someone else. After all, you are the key ‘ideas person’, but…

Most founders hire a CTO too soon. Are you in that camp? Let’s find out.


Firstly, what does a CTO actually do?

Essentially they’ll communicate your vision from the tech side of things. Whilst you can express your idea and how this might change the world, a CTO will be looking at this vision with a critical view. They will know what is technically possible, they’ll have their ear to the ground in terms of new technologies and innovations and they’ll know how to hit the ground running. 

A CTO is responsible for delivery and will be following a roadmap to achieve success. This takes the pressure from you to oversee the technical development of your idea as you can leave this one at the feet of the expert. 

As your team expands, the CTO is also a motivator and leader. They will be as passionate as you are about your idea and this will feed to the rest of the team. Often they are working on the basis that they’ll see big bucks when the company is successful, so they’ll push and drive to motivate others.

But, there are some things you should ask yourself first.

Before embarking on the major hire of a CTO, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is your idea a good one? Or do you just think it’s good?
  2. Is it scalable? If you want to keep your investors happy and potentially sell one day, this is your absolute priority
  3. Will a new CTO who was passionate a year ago, be able to change direction as fast you need to grow?
  4. Is the market ready for it? Is now the right time?
  5. What’s your pricing model and is this what you want to see, or is this realistic?
  6. Which features will you prioritise? You won’t be able to do it all straight away.

There is lots of exploration to be done before you get too technical. A strong development agency can offer you thought-leadership and will outline the reality of your idea in a no-fuss way. Their motivation lies away from an equity/success arrangement so will just tell you as it is and can help guide you strategically. After all, many top rated agencies, like Love the Idea, started through a passion for developing ideas!

Just make sure you choose an agency with an entrepreneurial spirit and appetite for risk. Many freelance developers are risk averse; they just want to deliver what’s been asked for on paper. But, an established tech agency will offer you the fillet steak, and not the pot noodle soup. Let yourself be led in the exploration of your idea before you get too technically focused and be open to challenge.

So, be frank, is now really the right time for a CTO?

As your company grows, roles within it will evolve too. A CTO who had the know-how and passion a few months ago, might fail to change direction according to your exploration. Do you want to be chained to someone who is set in their ways and stifled by sheer passion for the idea and hunger for success; no! 

Look, there is a time and place for a CTO – when you have reached puberty as a company. You’re showing signs that you’re growing and maturing but you’re not quite there yet, that’s the time for a CTO to drive things forward.

We may be biased but a strong digital transformation agency will grow with you in the interim. They have talent on tap to meet you just where you’re heading, so they can not only guide you strategically and build the thing technically, they can help you scale. 

After all, as Lily Tomlin puts it, ‘The problem with the rat race is even if you win, you’re still a rat’. 

If I were you, I’d opt for daily fresh eyes on my start-up; an honest, straight-talking partnership with a really established tech agency. To me, that’s more valuable than a CTO. 


We're a team of happy and creative people with a passion for building new and exciting ideas. We love what we do and always looking for our next challenge big or small.


Lovetheidea Team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Love the Idea Logo

Your mobile growth partner with over a decade of expertise. We collaborate with clients as your growth partner, creating new business opportunities through a mix of innovation, gamification, and positive impact goals.

Main Office

Love the Idea Ltd.
124 City Road, London
United Kingdom

Subscribe newsletter

    © 2024 Love the Idea Ltd, All Rights Reserved