Bhavik Jain .

As a non-tech solopreneur - Does one need to build and scale a tech team for a product?


I don't think so! ๐Ÿ™

So, Just hear me out!

I have a friend of mine who has his own Saas product, and as a sole founder, he is outsourcing his tech and marketing on retainer contracts to service providers !

And to my surprise, his business is running superbly well!๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

His overall working costs are very low and he is able to earn good loads of money for himself!

This one simple thing made him centralize his ideas around his core mission allowing him to focus more on just Sales! ๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ’ธ

Isn't this a viable option for every founder to adapt? ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

Especially for early-stage founders- start building product outsourcing their services, and slowly as the cash-flow pumps in- they can consider building a team to sustain!

Originally Posted Here
38 Comments

Rahul Rajvanshi

Not if you are willing to build an empire

Bhavik Jain

Even at the early stages? B2B SaaS jaise industry mei toh bootstrapping his highly possible.

How to get funds initially to build a stellar tech team?

Rahul Rajvanshi

For a good enough tech team you need three kind of roles
1. Experienced Tech Co founder
2. Front-end Dev
3. Back end Dev with devops experience

If you are working on micro SaaS outsourcing is totally fine. But for a market with more competition and rapid growth. It's always ideal to build your own team
Investors won't like outsourced tech team either
It's just a matter of choices and finding a right agency. Your friend is lucky to have one

Bhavik Jain

Agree brother completely! But again the question is funding. Getting Initial funding is very difficult!!
But again depends on indivisual how he wants to go ahead!!

Rahul Rajvanshi

getting funding is not difficult, if you are really building something that's good

Rajesh Garg

Yes first outsourcing and then hiring, seems like a good option to me actually!
And most of the early stage startups are following this trend as well!!

Bhavik Jain

Yes, I have seen a rise in this trend while handling the Service Requirements of PSers in our Partner Model.:D

Deepak Singh

Interesting!And not just about SaaS business probably this can be applied to every online business!

Bhavik Jain

Yeah you are correct! Many ecommerce guys are going for the same!

Shikar Sharma

Funding is difficult at initial stages, so seems a nice idea for bootstrapped businesses!๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ

Bhavik Jain

Correct bro, thats what I am saying, bootstrapped businesses ke liye kadak sauda hai ye!!

Soham Sarkar

Depends on the kind of model you want to follow. If you are going to bootstrap its fine, but if you're looking to raise a decent amount (series B at least) most investors I've spoken to don't want to have an outsourced tech team.

Bhavik Jain

Yeah as far as you are getting investors to fund you, you can go with hiring all tech teams!
But most of the founders in the community are bootstrapped! I think outsourcing would be the safest option for them!

Abhinav Sankar

Soham Sarkar How many b2b saas founders prefer fundraising?

In my understanding, the industry is bootstrap-first mentality

Soham Sarkar

Best is getting a strong tech guy and convincing them to be a cofounder for equity. Make them believe in the vision and you save all the money.

I've met a lot of people who want to bootstrap but I've also met a lot of guys who want to raise funding. It's all about the business model.

Some SaaS don't need to be funded, they have a small TAM, barely any R&D and is lightweight.

Many SaaS, however, needs to be funded for it to have a chance at success. It requires a decent amount of R&D and infrastructure costs so funding becomes a necessity.

Example of lightweight apps that can be bootstrapped and still make a good amount of money - Shopify apps like Privy and small SaaS like todoist

Example of a heavyweight SaaS that can't be bootstrapped at all Gong.io and Freshworks

Abhinav Sankar

Soham Sarkar right. you are also into B2B SaaS right? Are you bootstrapped?

Soham Sarkar

Abhinav Sankar Bootstrapped for now but raising capital is our biggest priority over the next 3-6 months, which is why every single decision we take is centred around that (the product roadmap, the pilots we conduct, the partnerships we engage in etc).

Since raising capital is such a priority for us, we can't afford to outsource development, and we've figured out ways to build in-house itself

Kapil Agarwal

You can aquire the tech team at the time of series B.๐Ÿ˜‰

Soham Sarkar

Kapil Agarwal probably idealistic...im yet to meet an institutional VC that will invest in the seed/series A stage without an inhouse tech team let alone a tech cofounder..if you know please feel free to connect me

Kapil Agarwal

Soham Sarkar i am myself not interested to raise money anytime sooner..

Soham Sarkar

thats fine..i was primarily talking about people who are looking to raise

Shriyash Patil

I have a doubt. What's the difference between retainerodel and fixed salary don't they mean the same

Bhavik Jain

Retainer model is monthly contracts can be short term as well as long term. Fixed salary to employee is a long term call. And usually hiring a tech employee is not at all cheap as compaired to outsourcing it from someone else

Abhinav Sankar

Shriyash Patil Hiring is a struggle for most!:/

Post hiring things like managing the team, the culture can be time consuming for a lone founder- dont you think?

Matt Rowbotham

Everyone has a different path. I outsourced for the first 6 months before getting a CTO on board for equity. Nothing compared to the latter option. An outsourced team will never care about your product and the growth of your business like a co-founder will. Not to mention the $$ I've saved. I wish I had done it from the start and won't be outsourcing again if I can avoid.

Bhavik Jain

What all challenges do you faced while outsourcing?

Matt Rowbotham

it's expensive, time zones, they are unskilled, they don't care about the product. Far more cons than having an in-house technical co-founder. But I am just one opinion.

Deepanjan Datta

No, we cannot. Many tech products need lots of research and development. So, you need extreme good tech team to make your proto. Sales comes later.

Rahul Rajvanshi

Deepanjan Datta Abhinav Sankar this is another thing which comes into the picture. Our product needs extremely good AI followed by R and D for the same. So we can't really go for outsourcing

Bottom line is micro saas can really use agencies to grow and then hire
But if you selling a little upmarket it's almost impossible

Siddharth Verma

BhavikTo be super honest you are talking about a single case which fortunately for your friend went ideally.My 2 cents
Building a tech startup as a non tech partner with a team of contractors will only work in the following scenarios

->The founder has a very well defined project and want to bootstrap it's way through as Soham mentioned a tech product with no tech team will have a hard time with raising funds

-> The founder got good contractual developers who has been around with him ideally from the start and are planning to stay. As you know what too many cooks do to a dish. Specially when there is no supervision

-> The founder have someone whom he can rely for feedback. Probably a good contractor or a friend who is overlooking the tech.

Things that can go wrong.
-> Contractors leave as they have no incentive of being the with the company(as they have no equity or any vested interest)
-> Too many iterations for a decent working product(in tech terms)
-> The platform doesn't scale well and now you are stuck with a product that you have no knowledge off and another contractor tells you the tech is garbage and need to be re-written.

I can go on and on. Being a freelancer, When I personally pick up such projects. I help the founder to hire and train people before I leave. After that too I am always available for them over call.

Although I am very happy for your friend and I am also familiar with some examples. But as Rahul said it just won't grow in most of the cases.

If you one is building a tech product one needs vested tech partners

Imagine building PushStart with people who do not care for the community? Will it work ? Maybe it will but that wouldn't be in the best interest for the community.

Kapil Agarwal

Siddharth Verma pushstart is a community made of people. Saas is different.

Siddharth Verma

I know Kapil. It's not a literal comparison. It's more about the essence of building something we care about. I gave the example of Pushstart because the Author is member of Pushstart Startup

Kapil Agarwal

Siddharth Verma in this case, its an agency and not a freelancer. So there is such worry of contractor leaving the project. And all the above scenarios are true in this case instead thr founder is never looking for fundraise

Siddharth Verma

To my best knowledge. It says service providers not an agency ?

Even If it was an agency. Agency also closes specially in times like these.

Kapil Agarwal

all of them closes? Wven if they are good with projects and have decent earning?

cyber security and web development agencies are good with projects in these times.

Kapil Agarwal

I run a saas model were there is minimum development on the product side and more focus om maintenance and security. Hence the cost is low. This is a viable option but only for a period of time. Once you start scaling, scenarios change. Currently i amable to handle clients on my own becoz its s one time deployement process, where we create the account for the client and make visiting cards for all their employees. After that, our concern is product maintenance. Security can be outsorced to a reliable cert certified third party.

also, my focus has never been fundraise.

Product development - i got my clasmate make the whole product (along with his team) as i am myself an engineer it was not too dificult during development phase. Later, he came in as a tech lead were we work on hourly basis. As there is no regular development, i dont need full time techies to just sit back without work.

Later the product development doesnt need techie- brains but feedbacks from trusted clients. I have a lot of them to tell me what should be done and what needs to be changed. Although learning along the way!

Pratyush Shrivastav

Depends on where tech is placed with respect to your core offering.
For instance, if you are in e-commerce or food tech you can easily outsource because that is hardly going to be your differentiator anyway. In this case, your time is better utilized in managing operations, partner tie-ups and sales.

In case of a B2B SaaS though, tech is literally your product. That is your core offering, your differentiator. Everything else will revolve around that piece of tech and it's important that those developing it are invested in the long term vision of the startup. Contractors hardly bring that degree of commitment to the table.

Outsourcing tech I believe in the second case will come back to bite you sooner or later.

My 2 cents.

Neeraj Tiwari

This is the best option for non-tech founders to outsource to the third party and focus on marketing/sales. (Applies to any product one want to make). The non-tech founder should focus on getting clients, money and piling up enough cash to hire their own team.

On a second note, that no tech founder should have minimum Rs 10-20 Lakhs as a reserve to handle tantrums of the service providers (yaa we all have faced it) and a clear NDA, NCA, IPR, SLA, Handover Agreement etc in place with this service provider.

Girlfriend OR Wife wall concept hain ye mota mota:)ultimately you will need a core team, but that can wait, jab take kaam chal raha hain chalne do outsourcing se.

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