Navigating Tech Startup Launch: The Non-Tech Founders Guide to the Galaxy


Navigating Tech Startup Launch: The Non-Tech Founders Guide to the Galaxy

Home Blog Navigating Tech Startup Launch: The Non-Tech Founders Guide to the Galaxy

Embarking on a journey to launch a tech startup as a non-technical founder may seem like a daunting task. However, with the right approach and guidance, it can be a rewarding experience leading to success.

At REPTILEHAUS Digital Agency, we specialise in web design, web development, blockchain, AI, and SaaS.

Our mission is to empower non-tech founders by providing comprehensive turnkey solutions tailored to their unique needs, whether through complete outsourcing, our innovative Fractional / CTO as a service offering, or simply by sharing some common tidbits we have picked up along the way, having been a part of over 100+ startup journeys over the past 15 years.

One could be forgiven for thinking that, in order to be a founder of a technical startup, one must be akin to the Elon Musks, Zuckerbergs, or Job’s of the world.

While it is beneficial, it is more often the exception rather than the rule.

It is quite possible and potentially beneficial to be a non-technical founder. Perhaps you are a visionary, or maybe you excel at sales, business negotiations, strategy, and accounts — stereotypically, areas where techies may not excel.

After all, a tech startup may have the word ‘tech‘ in it, represented by the tech team, but when push comes to shove, a startup is a business. Failure to act like a business and reach your KPIs will render the word ‘tech‘ in the title redundant.

So, rest assured, the playing field is certainly levelled, making it more inclusive for non-tech founders to be a true driving force.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of design and development, it’s imperative to lay a solid foundation.

Here’s a roadmap to guide non-tech founders through the crucial pre-development phase:


Validation Phase:

Understanding Your Target Market: Identifying your target audience and their pain points is paramount. Our agency assists founders in conducting in-depth market research, refining target demographics, and validating ideas through MVP testing. If you would like more in-depth information about this initial discovery phase, check out our other service offering page here.

Building the Right Team: Recognising your strengths and weaknesses is key. As a non-tech founder, assembling a proficient team is essential. From founders to employees, each role plays a crucial part. Many startups begin by creating labels and hiring for those positions. However, in our experience, startups often require individuals who are proficient and unafraid to tackle challenges head-on, a good freelancer can be worth their weight in gold in these early stages, similarly a bad employee can slow down the whole machine.

When the time comes and when the business requires it, perhaps you should appoint a CTO, or alternatively, you can hire a fractional CTO.

Our Fractional CTO program offers access to seasoned technical experts on a flexible basis, providing invaluable guidance without the hassle of extensive vetting or long-term commitments. We are here as much or as little as you need and can advise on everything related to technology.

When it comes to the following step of acquiring funding, you are generally less attractive to any VC if you do not have a co-founder, aside from that at REPTILEHAUS we are big believers in the ideology of having a bus factor of 0 – in other words there is no single point of failure for your project. if you get hit by a bus someone else is there and has the same knowledge to keep the machine running.

Typically, what we see is a CEO/CTO match of skills, and that is how startups are generally formed based on the complementary skills of both parties. There is no cookie-cutter approach to how a startup is formed or the team; just exercise caution on your choices. The road to success is paved with many stories of atomic fallout, such as Mark Zuckerberg and the Winkelvoss twins, or Steve Jobs famously being fired from Apple. In any regard, I don’t think any of these guys came out too badly afterward.

Establishing a Technical Roadmap: Once you have clearly defined your success KPIs, market fit, and product, then it’s onto crafting a clear and adaptable development roadmap, which is vital for success. Our collaborative approach ensures alignment between founders and technical team members, incorporating modern frameworks like Agile and Scrum to navigate the development journey effectively.

Securing Funding: Funding is the lifeblood of any startup. While we do not offer VC funding, we understand design/development and the costs associated with it. We can help you manage costs during the development phase and thereafter when your product is used by millions, as well as provide the input required to put together a compelling white paper or pitch deck.

Embarking on the creative/development phase is only half the battle.

Jumping headfirst into development might seem like the next thing to do in order to meet your business strategies, but we can guarantee that it is not the wisest decision. The more you accomplish before writing the first line of code, the better. Indeed, before hiring the first developer, it’s much better to have all the “T”s crossed and the “I”s dotted.

Leaving guesswork up to developers will ultimately cost you more and require more iterations in the long run. So take the steps as they come, and next up is design/wireframes/UX but we will touch on the marketing phase as it is something which is ongoing throughout the whole process.

With all that taken on board, you can see non-tech founders have quite a lot on their shoulders. You must harness your managerial, people, sales, strategy, and planning skills to navigate the intricate landscape of tech startups successfully, using a business-first approach to ensure your business thrives.


Marketing is something which should be ongoing from day 1 and gradually gaining more steam as each phase is coming to completion.

Day one tasks can be as simple as creating your social media accounts and making sure the appropriate handles are available for your brand on all the social networks, always good to have the same handle across all of them for brand cohesiveness, in a perfect world, of course you may need to creatively deviate from that.

once design has finished with the branding and style-guide then its time to generate content and brand collaterals like logos, banners and the like to be used on your social channels, PPC campaigns as well as brand media pack.

Content and SEO strategy is something which should be done as soon as feasibly possible.

SEO is a long game so being 3 months ahead of schedule is certainly advisable.

You will want to use tools like SEM rush to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for and then factor that into your content, the ideal scenario would be to have your product already ranking and indexed by all the search engines by the time you launch unless you are in true stealth mode, either way make sure the content is written, optimised and ready to go.



By this stage you should have had many a late night with your co-founders, and hopefully you have covered all the details

You are now confident in your business strategy, covered some of the legals and admin related bureaucracies, validated your idea to such a stage where you are confident, you have someone technically capable to architect the tech side of things and now you are ready to engage someone who has that certain je ne sais quoi when it comes to Design.

Selecting a designer can be as difficult as finding the right tech talent. Design is a wide ranging field with many different types of designers if you are building a web product it is a no brainer to hire a Web Designer, what sets this designer apart from lets say a print designer is that they understand the canvas which they must work with i.e a screen, they know how to utilise a grid system, how to design for responsiveness (different screen sizes) and the nuances of different web browsers.

Typically this will start with a number of discovery sessions, followed by some high level wire frame diagrams (interactive Figma’s are always fantastic)

They will also create user journeys which will essentially be your ICP (ideal customer profile) and how they are onboarded into the product.

If you can, hire a UX person who really knows what they are doing, between Design and UX you should have a well thought out flow encompassing your brand identity, collaterals for all marketing strategy, the psychology of your ICP and a fleshed out product ready for the tech team to put meat on its bones.

Pro tip though: Involve the tech team representative during this process, trust me it will save you headaches later.


The complexity and cost of this phase will vary greatly depending on what the end product is.

  • Should it be a simple WordPress website, well then it’s straightforward.
  • Maybe it’s a mobile application like Tinder but for your pet (don’t laugh, we built this – check out Poochie). It’s relatively simple but will take approximately 4.5 months and careful planning.
  • Perhaps it’s a multi-tenant SaaS platform featuring many user roles and organisations, all of which need access to their own section of your hosted metaverse while maintaining secure data access – no problem. However, the devil is in the detail on this one, so hardcore deep planning is mandatory. Prepare for more late nights, weekends, and ensure a generous budget allocation for pizza and coffee.

What I mentioned previously may seem obvious, but picture this, you start this entire process with a goal of six months in mind to cover:

  • research/validation
  • marketing
  • design
  • development
  • launch.

As the non-technical founder, you find yourself swept up in the entire decision-making process, which is natural for you.

Moreover, it’s genuinely enjoyable to witness your idea taking shape in real-time, with other people collaborating, iterating, and improving upon your vision.

The endorphins are firing, and your creative juices (which you never knew existed) are flowing like the salmon of Capistrano. You adjust this font here, tweak that colour there, move the logo a few pixels to the right – no, move it back again… And then, the design phase seems to stretch on, perhaps even too long, leaving only three months before your GoLive deadline comes knocking.

For the development team, this means cutting corners and frayed nerves. Coding under pressure is never a recipe for success.

When it comes to technology, corners should always remain nicely rounded and never be cut with a blunt knife. This is precisely why I emphasised in the previous section the importance of involving the tech team during the design phase. Both elements form a symbiotic relationship and cannot survive without each other’s involvement. As a Fractional CTO, I find it essential to be deeply engaged throughout the entire design process to ensure synchronisation.

No one understands everything, so active discussions about design and business decisions are crucial, especially when they intersect so deeply.

Additionally, design should later be involved to add finishing touches and review the developers’ output.

Your role, as the non-technical founder and business brain, is also to ensure you are aware and on top of this process. Avoid getting caught up in over-planning every minute detail and ensure other members of each internal team are not draining time from each stage and requesting unnecessary features, which can increase the timelines all unbeknownst to you.

Set your timelines and stick to them, always allowing for a little buffer. Of course, this depends on a number of factors, but it’s essential to be aware of and adhere to this principle in every project.


GoLive phase:

As the non technical founder, always be vigilant about deliverables, dont leave anything to chance especially testing, before going live its always a good idea to review everything on as many different devices and browsers as possible, hiring a freelance tester can help catch a lot of the low hanging fruit.

Never trust a developer to do their own testing, they’re not bad guys, they just think differently, you will learn a lot more about your product by asking your mother to try to use it as well as friends and colleagues, if you did some focus group testing as part of the early product validation research then they are ideally suited to test the finished product.

Now is the time to also prepare your marketing campaigns for full steam ahead and with that make sure that your server administration guy has no intention of taking time off just in case the infrastructure needs someone on hand to manually scale should you get a spike in traffic, don’t let the dev team celebrate just yet, they must be on standby to do emergency hot fixes, any bugs in production which affect and end user should be treated as a lost sale, if they have made it to your platform they are already a validated lead, if they cant signup with their email because of a bug that is a critical problem for which a fix needs to be done within minutes

Congratulations, you have successfully ran the gauntlet ! and hopefully you hired us and we were there too 🙂 if not I hope this post has helped you feel free to reach out if you need any assistance even post-launch with Development, Security or server administration


At REPTILEHAUS the Digital Agency, we’re committed to empowering non-tech founders on their entrepreneurial journey, We are more than happy to provide pro-bono advice, if there is something we can help you with let us know, click the link to schedule a 15 minute quick discovery call on our calendly.

With the right support and understanding, non-tech founders can transform their ideas into thriving tech startups.

Schedule a quick no-commitment 15-min discovery call