Should we get a CTO or COO?
We're looking for a co-founder & CTO with Mean stack,we are ready to offer them 1 to 7% equity,co-founder status,non-dilutable equity until series B.However,we already have a mean stack front-end,2 interns,all the use cases are ready and everything...now should we go for COO instead?
1. The role of Chief technology officer is to take care of technology part of the products or projects development and delivery only. He/she should be a technology expert to show some new areas for better business. This role also need to study the market needs for different technology related products design/implementation.
2. The role of Chief operating officer [COO] is to look for the entire company's operations. This role is not only look for the operations of Technology and also for other operations of different groups, etc...
Need not be a technology expert. Need not study the market for services strategy/design or sales.
Hence both operations are different.
#1 is permitted for technology projects only. The technology related R&D can be done by this role only.
#2 can take care of the entire company operations. This role can not be doing as R&D on technology or any type of R&D for any operational issues.
Just to make sure operations are running smoothly.
Your information is very crispy to give a determined answer or suggestion.
Now depends on your company's internal needs as per the role function, you need to decide.
Go for a COO/CTO. Why not have both skills in a single package? There are plenty of business savvy technology experts bit those with some experience will have the right combination of skills and experience in all the areas of your business. You need a COO to operate the company and take care of operational needs like, people, infrastructure, growth, with a focus and expertise in technology. If you go for the COO, don't forget to hire someone that can talk the talk and understand the technology in depth too.
This cannot be answered without some background information on your strategy and status. Currently is your biggest challenge the technology leap needed or execution? Freeing the CEO/Founder is what a COO does - generally not needed until operations reach over 20 people and a few million in revenue. If you are pre-revenue you need your resources in marketing and sales IF your technology is sufficient to market test (then iterate). This also depends on teh experience and quality of your current tech team. Happy to have a free call with you to diagnose - this is a critical decision,
Do you have folks around the table (advisers, mentor capitalists, et al) with start-up deep smarts related to your domain? If not, get one or two. He/she will be invaluable.
Having been in both positions, if you find a person that is very good in handling operative tasks, incorporations etc, and has a good technical background, then you should proceed with only 1 person. A technical company requires a person with very good technical skills (CTO), but being a young company you also need a person with strong managerial skills (COO). It should not be difficult to find a person that can do both especially within the eCommerce industry. No need to worry about titles at this stage (or at any later stage).
the roles are completely different, and that does not depend on equity position, but on the work to be done, check for the roles those two positions should play in the organization
After reviewing the functionality of your business, it would be advisable that you look for a CTO first. Since this is initially a small business, the CTO can carry two roles (just as I carry CLO and CIO). In some cases, a person is capable of holding to roles/functions since they intertwine. Our company is a software training company, therefore both roles are needed in one person. It depends on which event we are attending as to what title I tell people. However, they are not the same position yet they are intertwined roles. I have repeated the phrase "intertwine" since it is imperative to understand that in some organizations (like your and ours) where two roles hold separate responsibilities yet they are cohesive.
The CTO would be able to eliminate another C-level from coordinating the functionality of the interns and all IT operations (like a project manager) while at the same time since the business model it in an IT format and IT "hovers" around the operations, they would also act as the COO.
Sounds like you are desperate to increase your overhead and dilute your equity. I'd suggest you work out what your mid-term strategy is and then figure what roles you need to make that happen. With your current uncertainty I would definitely NOT give anyone non-dilutable equity up front. Let them earn their way onto that team.
It depends on the shortcomings of the growing company. A CTO is going to drive technology decisions and strategy with strong execution skills around the technical side both internal IT and Product development leadership.
A COO is typically much stronger in Operational leadership and Financial management. Both have strong value to companies, it truly depends on your company profile. If you want to spend an hour talking through the current structure of the company, the people skills of the current leadership and the challenges the company is facing going forward, we can likley draw a pretty clear picture which way you should be leaning.
Regards Rob 602-448-5407 Phoenix Arizona
There can be overlap in both to a certain extent, so it depends on what your exact needs are at this point. If you need more tech based guidance, someone who could be called a "CTO" could be more appropriate. COO's are typically those that are more concerned with the overall running of operations and as a small company, there might not be as much to be concerned about in terms of supply chain and operations management. However, someone with this experience could be beneficial, it just depends on the state of the company and how you see it growing and where future needs might be.