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  • Writer's pictureSylvester

What is a Fractional CTO, Anyway?

A deeper understanding of the responsibilities of a CTO (Chief Technology Officer) may be nebulous, but technical startups know one thing - having a CTO on your team is instrumental in getting your product to market and convincing investors you have the right knowledge on your team to bring success. While it seems simple in theory to add a CTO to your team, finding a full-time experienced CTO on a startup budget will prove challenging if not impossible. An important concept to remember as you begin your search for a CTO…

The Role of a CTO Evolves Over Time

As with any role in a company growing from a small team to a multi-division organization, the role of a CTO evolves over time. Managing CTOs at established companies are focused on long-range planning, starting and managing technical divisions, leading internal teams, and looking at how future technology can be integrated into the company. The job is very “big picture” and, in a way, hands-off. But when a startup is working to get off the ground, future-focused planning can only go so far without a solid foundation on which to grow.

Startup CTOs translate customer needs into a product, search for lean ways to quickly provide value to customers, and support the team in winning over investors. They tend to be deeply engaged in engineering efforts and may manage a very small number of engineers. While strategy and vision are important components of a CTO’s methodology regardless of the size of the company, Startup CTOs need to be much more hands-on to get the company established.

Development of a product from the ground up and managing growing divisions are very different skillsets. While it is possible to find someone adept in both, it is highly unlikely - which leads us to the conclusion that your Startup CTO and your Long Term CTO are probably different people. So - now what?

It Isn’t All or Nothing - Consider a Fractional CTO

Consider hiring a Fractional CTO to handle your company’s startup stage. A Fractional CTO, “fractional” effectively meaning “part-time”, offers the leadership and know-how needed to get a product architected and built without requiring a pricey full-time salary. Fractional CTOs provide startups the flexibility to get the value they need in their beginning stages without wasting valuable time and resources on finding the “perfect” long-term CTO; focus in the early stages should be centered on getting the product built and in front of customers.

Once your Fractional CTO has helped you to find product success, your strong foundation and new revenue will help you to entice and capture a strong Managing CTO to build your technical divisions.

Fractional CTOs Come in Many Forms

You may feel ready to post an ad on LinkedIn searching for the perfect Fractional CTO - but we have a plot twist for you. Fractional CTOs need not be an individual; they can also be a company acting in the Fractional CTO role. Working with a company gives the added benefit of having multiple experts on hand to advise and guide product development.

We are certainly biased, but we believe that we here at Mile Marker offer unique value through our approach. Our Technical, Product, and Operations experts coordinate to offer a combination of perspectives; we consider your product from multiple mindsets, thereby offering a more dynamic and well-rounded Fractional CTO experience. Our goal is to set you up for success as you assemble your permanent team.

Intrigued? Let’s Chat!

Would you like to learn more about our approach? We’d love to learn more about your product goals! Schedule an intro call here, we look forward to connecting.


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