My start up is focusing on developing some of the in our IP portfolio for the near future. It’s some pretty heavy industrial equipment, and while our team has quite a bit of experience in IP, product design, and the space the equipment is for, we don’t have any engineers on staff. The equipment itself is fairly complicated, and even building a small version for proof of concept will likely take a significant amount of time and work.

We are debating outsourcing the engineering to a firm vs on a CTO as a co-founder. Here’s how I see it:

Benefits of Outsourcing:
– Simple and easy
– Allows our current team to focus on Biz Dev and fundraising
– Multiple experts in diff fields on the team
– None of us have any clue how to find an engineer with their own shop willing to work on a start up salary

– More expensive
– No one in house to help talk technical details with investors or partners
– We might not get to innovative insights an in-house engineer would have (we are a IP focused company so this is important to us)

Benefits of CTO:
– Innovation in-house means more IP
– Makes team look more impressive
– We have someone in house to talk tech when needed
– Cheaper at least for MVP/prototyping stage

Drawbacks of CTO:
– Possibility of unreliability
– Would only get us one engineer, not a team working on our project
– Very, very difficult to find

So what do you think /r/startups? Should we outsource or recruit our own, and if the latter how the hell do we find a qualified CTO? CoFounderslab does not have a lot of strong engineers.

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