HOTB Software Solutions
HOTB is a highly experienced software development company that provides in-kind angel capital to startup entrepreneurs with a viable technology based business. HOTB helps startups bridge the gap between their friends and family round and their venture capital round by subsidizing expensive technology needs. HOTB specializes in building custom software platforms to provide certainty of execution, experience, credibility, security and compliance. Additionally, HOTB Ventures has been formed for instances of passive investment when software development is not needed.

Manatt
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP is known for quality, for extraordinary commitment to clients, for integrated, relationship-based services, and for a range of capabilities typically found only in boutique firms. We are progressive and entrepreneurial compared to other major firms, and we are deeply committed to diversity, to public service, to involvement in the communities we serve and to excellence in all we do.

TriNet
Tech companies partner with TriNet Passport to compete for top talent by using our bundled HR products that cover the core services of payroll, fortune 100 benefits, risk and compliance, a scalable HR team all on a cloud platform. TriNet reduces the time businesses spend managing HR and administrative issues while providing enterprise-grade cloud capabilities. This enables entrepreneurs and management to focus on what’s important from raising funds to driving revenue. Join hundreds of executives in high tech who have experienced the TriNet Passport difference, working for companies in hardware, software, SaaS and telecommunications. Contact choy.chew@trinet.com for more information.

Eureka
The Eureka Building is a 3-acre technology campus in Irvine, California designed to help accelerate innovation. Founded in 2014 by Peter Polydor, our goal is to support local entrepreneurship by giving innovative companies and entrepreneurs in Orange County a home that is centrally located and easy to access. Through partnerships we are more than just a home, but are a support network hosting startup events while fostering mentorship relationships with our partners all within one of the most creative spaces in the region.

CrashLabs
CRASHLABS IS A VIBRANT COWORKING AND EVENTS COMMUNITY THAT ENHANCES WORK/LIFE BALANCE FOR THE NEW ECONOMY OF UNTETHERED WORKERS. CRASHLABS OFFERS CREATIVE AND FLEXIBLE SPACES SUCH AS OPEN DESKS, DEDICATED DESKS, PRIVATE OFFICES, AND EVENTS SPACE THAT SERVE EVERYONE FROM THE INDIVIDUAL TO CORPORATIONS.

Real Office Centers
At ROC you’ll find a cohesive and progressive working environment with professional support for entrepreneurs, innovators, and today’s leaders. Beyond merely providing the physical workspace, we contribute to your capital growth by facilitating innovation, inspiration, and collaboration. With professional support services, educational events, and a stimulating environment, ROC is where you and your company will grow. Our open-source work environment and friendly staff complete with private receptionists keep business running smoothly. ROC handles day-to-day operations and facility management so your company can focus on what it does best.

32 Questions Developers Should Ask a Startup Founder, by Tony Karrer

Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2013-02-12

Founder Feedback gives you insight from the startup trenches.

In a post on his SoCal CTO blog, Tony Karrer, Founder and CTO of TechEmpower, Founder and CTO of Aggregage and organizer of the LA CTO Forum and Startup Specialist Network, shares knowledge based on his experience of working with over 30 startups over the past 15 years.

This article was originally posted as: 32 Questions Developers Should Ask a Startup Founder. Below, a portion of the article has been republished.

 

"Almost every day I'm talking to early stage startup founders (see Free Startup CTO Consulting Sessions) about what they plan to do. I tend to ask a lot of questions, challenge aspects, make suggestions. But I've often been very surprised by one aspect of these conversations. Many of these founders have talked with several developers or development firms about their plans. Yet, I'm often the first person who's asking them questions that I consider to be pretty basic. Of course, it's way more complex than just these questions. It needs to be a conversation. There's just too much variation. Still, if you've not heard these questions from a developer, they are not helping you as much as they should.

Background Questions

Before I jump into the developer questions, let me start with some background questions around the business and product that a developer needs to know. Think of these as the big upfront questions:

1. Who are the customers? What’s their specific need / pain? Please be able to provide me with a few specific examples of different types of customers, what they need, what the system will do for them.

2. Tell me about the business. How are you funding this? What level of funding do you currently have?  Who's helping you with fundraising?  Are there other Founders?  Do you have legal (Founder Agreement, IP, etc.) in place?

3. What are the big milestones you have as a business? Do you have any specific deals done that are a basis of this? Where are you today and what's happening right now?

4. What have you done so far to validate the concept?

5. What’s different, special here? Where’s the mystery (see Matching Algorithm)?

6. Who are the other stakeholders involved? Other types of users? Partners? Administrators?

7. How will you be taking this to market? What channels will you use (e.g., Ads, Viral/Social, SEO for Startups)?  Is anyone working with you on this?

8. What are your key Startup Metrics? How do you make your money? How do you measure success?

9. What already exists in your space? Who are your big competitors? What are some good examples of similar sites? How will you differentiate from these?

10. What special data, content, APIs, etc. are you going to leverage? What’s the state of the relationships that brings you that data? What’s the state of those systems?

11. Where do you stand on your brand, name, logo, positioning? Examples of other brands/sites that are similar from a brand perspective?

12. Are there any specific hard dates or important time sensitive opportunities?

13. What do you see as some of the bigger risks / challenges?

14. Major Phases / Major Features - What are the major features in the major phases for the product? What set of functionality would make your company launch-ready?

15. What has been captured so far? Are there specs? Mock-ups? Wireframes? Comps?

 

Questions Developers May Have Forgot to Ask

So here are some of the questions that developers may not have thought to ask and a little bit of commentary around each question.

1. eCommerce - Is this subscription? If so, how many kinds of subscriptions? What are the rules for subscriptions? Discount support? Free-trials? Bundling? Coupons? Often this ties to marketing support. In other words, you want to offer a discount to a given group to provide incentive. Is it pay-to-play? Do you transact immediately or on delivery of some product or service? Do you have a merchant account already set up? Do you have a payment gateway?

2. Targets - Are you developing for desktop, tablet, mobile?  Are you looking at responsive design or design for a single mobile resolution or something in between?  Is this browser only or are you considering a native application?  Can you do a hybrid web/native application?  Which devices will you test on specifically? This is an area where things are changing rapidly.  Most new sites (but certainly not all MVPs) need to account for mobile delivery which increases the design and development effort.

3. Registration - will you support Facebook Connect or similar authentication? Will you also have a separate login? See also - When to Use Facebook Connect – Twitter Oauth – Google Friend Connect for Authentication. Do you need to round trip an email to validate the email? Captcha? How much member profile information do you need before allowing a user to login?"

Click here to continue reading 32 Questions Developers Should Ask a Startup Founder.

For more startup insights from Tony, check out his SoCal CTO blog and apply to the Spring semester of the Los Angeles Founder Institute where he serves as a mentor.

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32 Questions Developers Should Ask a Startup Founder, by Tony Karrer

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