The hidden cost of a bad CTO in startups

Bad CTOs mean startups have millions of dollars’ worth of cap table dead weight.

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The hidden cost of a bad CTO in startups

The startup ecosystem is a vibrant, constantly changing environment. The Chief Technology Officer's (CTO) position is among the most important in this ecosystem. But as Haje Jan Kamps recently noted in Techcrunch, not all CTOs are equal, and making the incorrect pick may be expensive for companies.

The CTO dilemma

Startups frequently have several co-founders, each of whom brings unique expertise to the table. Usually, the startup's CTO is in charge of its technological foundation. Not every CTO is prepared to advance from a tactical technologist to an executive-level strategic leader.

Kamps draws attention to a worrying pattern in which VCs frequently ignore the CTO's real skills in their haste to invest in firms with a technical co-founder. The outcome? Startups give substantial ownership to people who may only be as qualified as a passable engineer. This error might result in millions of dollars in dead weight on the cap table, mainly if the business succeeds.

The VC's place

Startups may succeed or fail based on their funding choices. However, Kamps contends that VCs should be just as critical of companies' technological features as they are of their market and financial viability. Mindlessly insisting on a technical co-founder without assessing their value can lead to placing significant equity in the wrong hands.

In conclusion

The journey from a startup idea to a successful exit or acquisition is full of challenges. While the right CTO can be a game-changer, the wrong one can be a costly mistake. As the startup ecosystem evolves, founders and VCs must make informed decisions, ensuring that every equity share counts.

This article is a summary and interpretation of "Bad CTOs mean startups have millions of dollars’ worth of cap table dead weight" by Haje Jan Kamps, originally published on TechCrunch.

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