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Startup Launch: Decide Who Will Build It

Startup founder deciding who will build her Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

After meticulously planning your MVP, the next crucial step in your startup journey is deciding who will bring this vision to fruition. The choices range from hiring an agency, engaging direct hires or contractors, bringing on a co-founder, to being accepted into a venture studio. Ideally, a team of up to three dedicated developers is recommended for optimal communication and context management.

Key Considerations for Choosing Your Builders

Collaboration Is Key: Effective collaboration is essential, making time zones a significant consideration. Your team needs to work cohesively, regardless of their geographical locations.

Cost Management: Be prepared to pay 40-70% of onshore development costs, even with offshore teams. Proper budgeting is crucial for maintaining financial health post-launch.

Experience Matters: Look for individuals or agencies with startup experience. They are likely to understand the unique challenges and pace of startup development.

Transparency and Flexibility: Choose partners who offer transparent processes and are flexible, particularly beneficial during the post-launch phase where changes are often necessary.

Beyond Experience: While experience is important, be sure to evaluate potential builders for their ability to collaborate, adapt, and understand the startup environment.

Junior Developers: Be cautious about relying solely on junior developers for building the foundation of your MVP. They may lack the necessary experience for such a critical task.

Evaluating Your Options

1. Working with an Agency

Pros: Access to a diverse pool of talent, including senior developers, and often a proven track record in MVP development.

Considerations: This is typically the most expensive option. Ensure the agency can provide clear cost guidance and trade-off analysis. Look for agencies that offer a starting template for launching MVPs.

2. Hiring Directly or Contracting

Pros: More control over the selection process, allowing you to choose individuals whose skills best match your project needs.

Considerations: The time to find and hire the right talent can be longer than working with an agency. It’s also important to evaluate potential hires for their collaborative skills and adaptability, in addition to their technical expertise.

3. Bringing on a Co-Founder

Pros: Co-founders can be the most cost-effective option, offering both skill and a shared interest in the startup’s success.

Considerations: It’s challenging to find a co-founder who is not only skilled but also aligns with your vision and approach. They should be hands-on and adaptable to various roles.

4. Being Accepted into a Venture Studio

Pros: Venture studios offer extensive support, and resources, and often have a hands-on approach to development.

Considerations: This option typically requires more equity than traditional VC funding. The selection process can be rigorous, as studios often look for startups that align with their expertise and portfolio.


Selecting the right builders for your MVP is a multifaceted decision that balances cost, expertise, collaboration, and the unique needs of your startup. Each option has its strengths and trade-offs; the best choice will depend on your specific circumstances and objectives. With the right team on board, you are poised to move into the exciting phase of actual development and iteration. Watch our YouTube Video on Building MVPs to get details on each step of the MVP development journey.

In our next post, "Startup Launch: Build, Launch & Iterate," we'll dive into the nuances of navigating these final stages to successfully bring your MVP to market.

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