Technical expertise is a competitive differentiator for the startup to create high-quality products and solutions in a short time
* André Ghignati is co-founder and CEO of OH
With the privileged gaze of someone who has been working in the startup ecosystem for almost a decade, I was able to witness some confirmed maxims and others not. The team being the main factor of success or failure of a startup certainly falls into the first category.
The imperative of the need for a multidisciplinary team to leverage a business has taken a shock: today there is a remarkable number of successful startups formed by exclusively technical founders. There are many success stories with teams of three to five founders with a background solely in computer science.
One explanation is that this technical expertise is a significant competitive advantage for the startup to create high-quality products and solutions in a short time. A small team of super busy founders cuts costs, simplifies communication, and gives you more control over product and quality. Additionally, the agility and speed to quickly iterate, test ideas, and make changes, even in areas like marketing, are especially valuable early on.
Startups founded only by these technical professionals also have less reliance on financial investment, as technology is usually the largest cost early in a startup’s life. All this technological baggage that these specialists already have helps the company to develop faster.
It is important to note that these types of startups also have the ability to attract new talent, both due to their presence in the area and because they offer the opportunity for other professionals to work in an environment of excellence, directly with the founders. According to a survey conducted in 2020 by the Brazilian Association of Information and Communication Technology Companies (Brasscom), Brazil trains 46,000 professionals trained in computer science every year. These, as well as other specialists, are increasingly looking for great job opportunities.
But all of these perks don’t mean that technical founders don’t have to be business savvy. These must have entrepreneurial skills, market strategy and product vision, which allow them to make the best decisions. For this, having the support of expert mentors who have gone through all stages of the entrepreneurial journey can make a huge difference. Therefore, enlisting the help of a startup accelerator is an effective route.
Of course, as the startup grows, it should also attract other professionals with complementary skillsets, such as marketing, sales, and operations specialists. Reinforce that early experience and team success can be a strong magnet for attracting talent to fill the skills gaps needed for startup growth.
The ever desired diversity of soft skills becomes even more relevant when founders have similar backgrounds, as this brings different perspectives, stimulates creativity, promotes a global approach to problem solving and strengthens the ability to tackle complex challenges.
Finally, I hope that the talented “nerds” realize that, in addition to the enticing possibility of earning dollars or euros by “coding” for multinational companies, there is a great opportunity to take up by founding startups. The conditions are favorable and the ecosystem has various actors supporting problems to be solved; the successful cases are there to prove it.
Entrepreneurial travel goes far beyond financial gain, although this can be great. This brings an accumulation of unattainable knowledge and relationships that permanently transform the lives of those who follow it. There is no doubt that it is worth it!