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.
Dan, a couple of new start ups who approached me with a similar question ended up answering their own question when I poked and prodded them over what role this person is actually going to perform. Titles don''t mean a thing if the roles are not defined with their bunch of functions properly ironed out and decided.
The person needs to be somebody who can pull the team together( or build a functional team), provide leadership, lead by example, be a good trouble shooter and most of all he needs to be a well informed and grounded person whose management skills are evident when the initial layers are peeled back. This person will also need to have a strong business network/ Government network and be in a position to represent the firm comfortably.
You imply that the ground work is in good condition so therefore what you need is a proven leader. Whether you want to call him the COO or CEO makes no difference. There is no use having a well maintained body when the head is missing. Tread your own path. All the best.
i believe a founder should do all these jobs until you have hit a milestone then i would bring in a interim COO or CTO first or talk to a company that has that service available to see if you can afford it
I'm curious. Are you funded yet?
If you are still pitching then it is often very important to investors have a CTO on your team of an IT start up. Also before a COO I would reccomend a CFO that can do both roles. As was said in this thread there are many perspectives on who might be best and what approach to take. However when you are offerating on a shoe string pre revenue and pre funding it is important to be focused on a product or service that can demonstrate your idea could work and then ideally on revenue or marketing to funders.
I'm a supply chain person so don't excel in healthcare, but drawing on similar situations, I would go for COO. The COO can provide the CIO functionality AND be a big contributor across the company.
Bring in the person with correct skill sets share the same passion of yours. He/ she must be highly motivated, able to wear multiple hats and with high grit too.
you are looking for partner not CTO or COO, don't frame this too early.
Not CTO or COO at present , The most important is to find the right person who can handle the work in proper way , company structure , more important than CTO or COO , oonce the work goes in smooth way , the person who runs the work will find or determine whether CTO or COO , that time he will get the right & suitable employees for work .
After going through your pitch, and based on my Start up experience, I can say that you do not need a CTO at the moment. Instead you should hire an experience marketer and give him/her the role of CMO (if you really want to). Your concept is in the form of a product right now which can be improved gradually however at this time you should definitely on-board doctors (50-100) and users (patients). You must test your platform for customer experience (doctors and patients) before you spend more money on its development.
I would go with COO...in my opinion it gives you equal expertise without giving up equity and a chance to further grow the business.
At this point, you have to ask yourself some questions? For example:
Is the work that needs to be done over the next 6 months CTO or COO responsibiiities?
Are you able to hire a COO who understands technology to the level that s/he can take you to the next high technology demand?
Conversely, can you hire a CTO who is also a good leader and can run ops while also focusing on the technology need?
Will the CTO or COO bring you credibility as s/he promotes your financial needs?
Be careful about hiring and adding costs to your business that may be a nice to have instead of a need to have. Stay mean and lean and hire the true talent you need now with a schedule of talent needed over the next 6-12 months.
Whether it is a CTO or a COO, be very introspective about bringing extra people.