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?
It is more important to find the right person to do the job you need than to worry about titles right now. Can you articulate what you need in terms of behaviours and experience? When you find the right person they may have a view on the right title.
This answer should be obvious by what the consequences are, positive and negative of having or not having the positions. What are the real needs and risks. Don't pull positions out of a hat by job title. Identify whether you are managing operations, evolving technology, mitigating risk, growing sales, etc. as a priority and fill the top of the pyramid that can best manage the priorities. Operations can report to a CTO or Technology can report to a COO so don't get hung up on titles. NEEDS, FEARS and SKILLS, match up those.
COO before CTO, almost always. However, if you are a Tech Company, and young then you're really looking for someone who can do both. So, to Ian's point... titles are less important than getting the right person on the bus who can do what you need. People with titles are meaningless if they don't get you where you need to go.
If you have the techno-horsepower already and have passed your technical feasability (and maybe some alpha testing) - then what does a CTO get you?
On the other hand, if you need someone to tie the org together as you go to market, get a COO.
Each has distinct and different roles. My experience with tech start ups which I have formed and/or coached is there is more of a need for the COO position. In short, the COO makes it all happen - operations, executing the strategic plan, managing and cultivation the company culture, sales, customer service, et al.
And every business goes through 4 phases - build mode, growth stage, management of growth stage, stabilization of growth stage... then back to build mode - and management of and through these stages is often make or break.
Not knowing your business specifically, I would recommend the COO. Hiring a COO is never too early and often too late.
Depend on the type of business and industry requirements and type of job so as to hire according COO for operation or CTO for technical.
As a start-up, the focus should be on fit and skills, not on titles. The entrepreneurial spirit you are seeking likely thinks in terms of 'achieve', 'accomplish', 'progress', and 'engage'; not necessarily in terms of titles. He or she will have the resume that speaks to growth and change management, mentorship and development. If the C-level is in the resume, it probably reads COO.
Hi Dan, It sounds as if you have a dilemma with the unexpected departure of your previous CTO. I would look for a COO with the experience in your industry who can pull together all the pieces to execute an excellent launch. He/she can do a needs assessment as to whether you need a full time CTO or if you can use a short term contract CTO.
Your efforts should be focused on accomplishing objectives over titles and positions. In a startup mode everyone wears multiple hats and everyone does what needs to be done, regardless of title.
Don't be so free with equity....it may not feel like it's worth much now - but . . .
Yes I agree with the feedback here....it depends on the nature of your business...in general, a COO would oversee the entire company ...startup in this case, and a CTO is more specialized....what are your needs? Who are you? ....it will determine what you want to BE and DO...start out with the very simple fabrics of your business...when in the midst of the process, return to who are you really=needs=present projects which will inevitably determine the future of your company...a key person will get you from the start, effortlessly! Hope this helps....Silvia V Sweidan: Corporate Image Consultant
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Depending on the type of business you should go for a CTO or COO first. What is the background of the founders? Why offer non-dilutable equity? I wouldn't recommend that, just everyone should diulute.
That depends on your business. If your Very IT focused a CTO should probably come first. If not a COO will add value to all aspects of the business including IT.
I would agree COO before CTO, almost always. You are really looking for someone who can do both. I have to agree titles are less important than getting the right person on the bus who can do what you need. What do you need in terms of experience and / or talent?
Find a good CTO first. This is a person who needs to be tied closely to the way the technology is set up and making her part of the founding team makes a lot of sense. A COO can come in much later when you have operations large enough to require someone with the expertise to tune them.