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Here’s what you should know:

  • Hiring the right Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is crucial for a startup’s success as they lead the technical direction, build the initial product, and communicate with stakeholders.
  • Objective measures to assess potential CTOs include their previous startup experience, ability to identify initial technical hires, fundraising experience, and their capability to build a product as the sole developer.
  • The ability to source talent is crucial for a CTO. They should have the connections and ability to hire developers to start scaling the team.
  • In addition to these objective measures, a successful startup CTO should exhibit professional traits such as adaptability, strong communication skills, vision and strategic thinking, and value equity.

We’re looking for Chief Technology Officers (CTO) for a dozen startups. The CTO is responsible for leading the technical direction of the company, building the initial product, and effectively communicating with stakeholders. If you’re a strong technical leader and have ever thought about joining a startup as its technical leader, then this post will help you understand what it takes to be a Founder CTO.

If you’re interested in learning more about Founder CTO opportunities with Mark II Ventures, let us know!

Prior Startup Experience

As an aspiring CTO, your past experiences can significantly impact your role in a startup. Ideally, you should have played a key role in a startup previously, possibly as a founder. At the very least, you should have been among the first 20 members of a startup, contributing meaningfully to the growth and development of its product.

Able to source talent

A CTO should be capable of hiring and leading a team of developers from the get-go. If you have no prior experience in hiring, leading a team, or lack a robust professional network, this could potentially hamper your product’s scalability right from the start.

Previously Raised Funds

The capability to effectively communicate with potential investors is a critical skill for technical leaders. Past success in raising funds can instill high confidence in the value you, as a CTO, can bring to our startups.

Technical expertise

The CTO should have a deep understanding of the technology stack relevant to your product and industry. At the early stages of a technology company, your CTO is your lead developer, head devops engineer, primary QA resource, and much more. Finding someone who not only is capable of, but loves the idea of being the initial sole developer on your product is essential in a lean startup.


In a dynamic startup environment, priorities can shift swiftly. As a CTO, your ability to adapt to these changes readily is paramount. If you prefer a rigid task structure, the versatile nature of startup life might pose a challenge. Having a keen sense for when it’s necessary to pivot and the comfort of operating in a dynamic environment are key traits.

Strong communication skills

Communicating effectively with various stakeholders, including the founder, employees, investors, and customers, is crucial. Explaining complex technical concepts in simple, understandable terms to non-technical team members and stakeholders is a must-have skill.

Vision and strategic thinking

As a CTO, it’s essential to have a clear vision for the company’s technical direction and the ability to translate that vision into actionable plans. Anticipating potential challenges and devising strategies to overcome them is also part of your role. This forward-thinking approach will assist our startups in navigating the competitive landscape and ensuring their long-term sustainability.

Value Equity

Strong technical contributors will be able to make astronomical salaries by going to well-established companies and a startup will often require working purely for equity (to start) or taking a significantly lower salary in exchange for ownership of the company. We want a CTO who values the long term upside of ownership in a startup.


We are looking for candidates with technical expertise, adaptability, strong communication skills, strategic thinking, and an entrepreneurial mindset. If that’s you, and you are interested in learning more about Founder or CTO roles at Mark II portfolio companies, please LET US KNOW HERE.

Interested in Being a Founder CTO?

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