Do StartUps Really Need a Technical Founder?

May 13 2015
By Joseph Knecht in Insights

Not according to Unroll.me’s founder Perri Gorman, and we happen to agree. Gorman was one of four non-technical founders who founded Unroll.me, an email managing service that exceeded 1 million subscribers in July of 2014. Blake McCammon, co-founder of Protohack and HR contributor at The Huffington Post interviewed Gorman to find out how she was able to attain such high levels of success without technical expertise. Here are some of Gorman’s pro tips:

  • “Do what you are good at.” Gorman tells non-technical entrepreneurs to play to their strengths. If you’re good at sales, focus on that and provide as much value as possible to the company through your sales expertise.
  • “Be a great storyteller.” This might be the most important tip Gorman graces us with. To tell a great story is to captivate your audience, while building a relationship based on trust. It’s the key to marketing, selling and fund-raising. This skill is paramount to success as a non-technical founder.
  • Learn the lingo. Just because you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of coding doesn’t mean you shouldn’t understand basic terminology. Gorman says “You need to know the landscape programming languages, databases and API integrations to know how things fit together. You need to learn how to speak to engineers in their own language.”
  • “You need a network. You will need help. Ask for it.” As a non-technical founder, you’re going to have to rely on those that do have the expertise to build your product. Build a strong network of trustworthy experts that you can rely on for advice and help when coding.

Gorman is now putting those same tips to work on her latest start-up, Archively. It’s a great tool to help individuals, especially recruiters, who do a lot of online research about people.


Proteus partners non-technical founders to consult and provide engineering services to help entrepreneurs turn their tech ideas into innovative, disruptive, high growth SAAS companies. Are you a non-technical founder with a breakthrough idea? Hit us up.

Joseph Knecht
Post by Joseph Knecht

Joseph Knecht is the CEO at Proteus and loves to cover the topics of entrepreneurship, digital transformation, and web product commercialization.

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