New York Tech Journal
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#Web and #Mobile #Development Panel

Posted on March 2nd, 2017

#StrtupBoost

03/02/2017 @TheYard, 106 West 32rd Street, NY 2nd floor

A panel consisting of the following people spoke about setting up your startup.

MODERATOR, FOUNDER & CEO OF STRTUPBOOST + SPORTSWONKS, Jason Malki

Founder & CEO, Torops, Konstantine Sukherman

Founder & President, Mango Concept, Michael daniels

Founder & Creative Director, Awesome, Firat Parlak

Managing Partner, New Logic Technology, Alex Sokoletsky

Founder & CEO, bromin7, Sergey Belov

 

Recommend platforms to create MVP website. WordPress, but depends on the client, how fast you want to get up and running, and who are the clients. Also some funding shops have custom platforms. Drupal & WordPress are good alternatives. A couple of days are all that is needed to create an MBP. The platform depends on product. WordPress is not a fully scalable application. Invest custom if your product needs to scale to be successful. 70% of web is WordPress. 1 million visits/day is often the point when scalability becomes a problem.

When does UI/UX become important? You should define the UX before you build. You will then do a better job of predicting your costs and features along with the time frame.  It’s the most important part of the startup. A prototype will make your pitch easier.

How do you build a dev team? Web sites: Drubal, Behance, WorkingButNotWorking. Initially reach out to your network. For a founder its different – what is the skill set are you are looking for?

How do you hire a CTO? Alternative is to outsource or get a technical advisor (a few hours/week). One of co-founders is better if they have technical background. If just starting, will need to offer CTO a lot of equity. If need technical co-founder might offer equal or even more equity. At later stage, will need to give less equity. Also the CTO might be good technically, but need not know the all the area of dev. Get people excited.

An internal team will give you greater control. But partnering might be most cost efficient. Want to build a long term relationship – outside tem must be interested in the product. In-house developers must have equity. Don’t squeeze dev too much – it’s about building a relationship. Everyone should be happy. Good dev are hard to find > $100k/year. Get it out in the market as quickly as possible. Need proof of concept in the market. Get people in house to manage the outsource developers. 40% in-house and 60% outside can be a good mix. Find a senior designer to start (don’t leave it to a junior designer).

How do you choose a dev shop? Needs to more than a dev shop – need business analysts. Startups have great ideas, but need a partner to help on strategy. Need technical knowledge but should also have interest in the field. Personalities need to match. Good idea to keep some people who built the project even when you are able to hire an in-house team. You need to build a communication channel. Select the shop or can build an off-shore team – depends on whether you need to senior staff. Need to interview the developers who will be working on the project. Can scale faster if you get the right partner.

Okay to the start without understanding the code. Need to get someone who will take over the task. Should talk to developers 2x-3x/day. This will help you generate ideas. Every good dev team will give you an estimate, but it’s just an estimate. Don’t try to push you agenda on your developers. If it takes longer, they are trying to make the product better. Get out as quickly as possible if dev team is not producing or communicating.

Will an angel invest in a company which is using a dev shop? The VC at some point will ask you to build an internal team. If large amount being raised you may be asked to put together an in-house team. Otherwise, you may do either. Investors are looking for a good idea! Be clear to the dev shop on the amount of money that is available to use for dev.

The technology stack is key if you are developing in house. If the CTO is using an outside team, then it is sufficient for the CTO to have a computer science degree and decent resume. Mainly need someone who can explain complex things to non-technical people. if AI is involved, the CTO should understand the core ideas of AI.

Never speak technical language to investors. Investors want to know the idea, revenue streams, the team.  Investors like to know how product will function, so they want to know on-boarding and scaling, but they don’t need to know the dev stack. When you want to raise millions, investors will do a tech review so they know if the product will scale.

Usually need some type of MVP, but it can be small and cheap to develop. Raise money for this from friends and family.

Make sure you understand the scope – detailed scope will help prevent dev overruns. If you need to go outside the scope, then cut back features. Break it down to multiple phases and emphasize the key features. Always have a 20% buffer. Design dictates the development. Lock in the design since changes for developers are expensive.

Any good dev shop will have a flexible contract, so you will need to pay for design changes, but they will need to absorb charges if they misestimate the time. Also it depends on the amount of overage and the relationship.

You cannot really protect the idea. Otherwise, patent it and you might be able to negotiate to let the shop share the tech in return for a lower price.  Don’t be afraid that someone will steal your idea. Executing is the difficult part.

 

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