CTO as a service.
We help non-technical founders get started on their product.

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About

Hidden Founders is a mashup of dev skills and startup experience in an accelerated, bootstrap-friendly leasing package.

We help founders build an MVP and rapidly get it to market to test their hypotheses at minimum cost. We do so with a tailored leasing contract: founders can start work on their project with a 14% down payment, while the remaining sum is spread over 18 monthly installments. After six months, founders can opt to cancel their lease with no questions asked and all further payments forgiven. To keep the founders' cash investments low, we ask for a 3% stake in each startup.

We work with a select group of no more than 14 startups per batch and are completely invested in the projects we take on.

While building the product is our main focus, it's our pleasure to further assist our first time founders by connecting them with mentors and offering business assistance during office hours.

More about how we do it all here
  • Drew Houston
    Founder & CEO at Dropbox

    Good technical people will have ideas of their own that they're excited about, and working for a non-technical founder who, by the way, doesn't know or appreciate the difficulty or time it takes to make something well-engineered and undervalues you from an ownership standpoint, gets old quickly.

  • Sam Altman
    President of Y Combinator

    The more progress you make on the business, the easier it will be to get a great cofounder.

  • Michael Thomas
    Marketing at Highfive

    There’s no better way to demonstrate that you are an A player and capable of starting a company than to build something. As it turns out this is also one of the best ways to find a co-founder.

  • Steven Renwick
    Founder & CEO at Satago.co.uk

    On the supply side, developers that are good enough to be a startup CTO are not short of opportunities. In London, as in Silicon Valley, these guys can command healthy six-figure salaries, with decent stock options, in big tech companies. Moreover, most tech guys have a few ideas of their own that they would like to try before having a go at someone else’s vision.

We love non-technical founders

Many talented founders with smart business models
have a hard time finding a CTO in communities
where tech cofounders are scarce.

We've toured the major European startup hubs, and have witnessed founders missing exciting opportunities simply because they could not find partners willing to help them build an MVP.

We are convinced that helping promising founders get through the prototype-building phase will be the beginning of amazing things: good business models would get traction and attention from potential co-founders, incubators or investors, and technical talents would converge faster on these new poles of activity.

Hand Rocket HF

Our pitch to you

  • Rapidly build momentum
    Traction is seed stage currency: without it, you're broke, and pitching to investors begins to sound alarmingly like begging.

  • Lowering the cost of failure
    Speed is a startup's greatest asset in success and failure. Don't spend 2 years drawing conclusions easily gathered in 3-4 months. If you need to move on, you'll move on quickly. Chances are, your next venture is the right one.

  • Betting on success
    Having you on our program and taking a stake in your company means we are sharing the risk and reward. It also means we don't want you to keep funding the building costs if you decide that the product is not succeeding.

  • A solid team at your back
    You focus on your market, and we'll manage the product building phase pitfalls. If you're a first-time founder, you will enjoy being surrounded by a proven hacker team who have been through the startup product cycle more than once.

The Offer

  • 14%
    down payment

    This first down payment will green-light the collaboration as soon as all contracts are reviewed and signed. The lease will start the 5th of the following month.

  • Monthly lease based on the initial product build cost

    Remaining cost after down payment will be spread over 18 monthly installments regardless of product launch date.

  • 3%
    of the company

    Done through a version of SAFE (Simple agreement for future equity) adapted to fit with our leasing model.

  • 6
    month minimum commitment (over 18)

    You commit to the monthly lease only for a period of 6 out of the total 18 months. You can end the relationship at any time after that, no questions asked.

Request Deal Example

Demo day

Startups will present their products to a curated, invite-only audience of CTO material hackers and developers.

If we don't have enough startups from the same city,
we'll schedule local one-on-one meetings.

Previous Batch

  • Freagle Freagle
    FanFeed FanFeed
    Filz Filz
    Sealed Sealed
    Countup Countup
    Quicktix QuickTix
    Ouihelp Ouihelp
    Tipple Tipple
    Finch
  • We had the pleasure and privilege to work with a brilliant group of founders in our previous batch. Politics, fashion, car sharing, messaging and finance are just some of the fields we dove into over the course of our work together.

    Although our main focus is to ship an MVP, we also iterate and expand the scope in some cases in order to keep up with founders’ new insight and exciting discoveries post-launch. We see it as an opportunity for the team to grow stronger and a step further towards an ideal product/market fit.

    No true collaboration ever happens without heat; working alongside dedicated founders allows us to overcome initial product build setbacks and go all the way from idea to live prototypes even with the most challenging products. It is an exciting and fulfilling experience for everyone involved.

Meet some of our previous batch founders

Product Design by Hidden Founders.

Mentors

A 15-minute talk with people who have been there before can highlight anomalies and potential set-backs, saving a first-time founder months of hardship.

  •   Seth Godin
    Eyass Shakrah
    Founder & Partner at faris.vc
  •   Elon Musk
    Hicham Oudghiri
    CEO & Founder at enigma.io
  •   Kevin Rose
    Kamal Reggad
    CEO & Founder at Hmall.ma
  •   Aboud Jardaneh
    Aboud Jardaneh
    Co-founder & CEO at SpotAngels (YC 14)
  •   Jeremy Harper
    Jeremy Harper
    Principal at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator
  •   Ravi Kurani
    Ravi Kurani
    CEO & Co-Founder at Sutro

Hackers

Early stage is a memorable time in the lifetime of a startup: the technical challenge, the highly caffeinated all-nighters, the doubts, and the pressures of launching. Nothing is more satisfying to us than that. Introducing: the early stage freaks.

  • Seth Godin
  • Seth Godin
  • Seth Godin
  • Seth Godin
  • Seth Godin

Application

Application deadline was Feb 28th. Apply late and join the current batch.

Late Apply

Apply

Great things start with Great People.

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We will talk in details about what you can expect from our program during our online event.
If you have questions related to your product, please get in touch for a one-on-one call at [email protected]

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Request Deal Example

We used our previous batch projects to illustrate what an average deal looks like.Where can we email you the file?

PS: this doesn't automatically subscribe you to our newsletter.

Non-partisan, political social network for average citizens, politicos and activists. FREAGLE provides the information & tools to connect voters and candidates around political issues and debates.

Niki Papazoglakis Baton Rouge, LA

FanFeed is a mobile app for sports fan to connect around and highlight the best plays in recent games.

Connor Maher San Francisco, CA

Product Design by Hidden Founders.

Filz, the fashion loving child of Tinder and Instagram, is a platform for fashionistas who wants to get feedback on their outfits from the community.

Kai Schmid Geneva, Switzerland

Product Design by Hidden Founders.

Sealed is a social app that enables close friends and family to exchange time delayed messages. Unlike other messaging apps, Sealed immediately notifies the recipient of when the message will unlock, creating anticipation and excitement in the content delivery experience.

Alex Cantrell Boston, MA

CountUp.io is a free platform for startups to find & work with licensed accountants online. Instead of hiring full time accountants or overpaying traditional ‘brick & mortar’ accounting firms - hire your own personal CPA for a flat monthly fee.

Nodar Janashia New York, NY

Product Design by Hidden Founders.

Discover great movies at nearby theaters and get notified about new movie deals through location-aware push notifications.

Colin Krieg Arizona, USA

Product Design by Hidden Founders.

The main purpose of OuiHelp is to offer a wide range of services to international students in order to make their installation and integration in France easier. To avoid problems and complications due to the language barrier among other things, OuiHelp proposes complete support throughout the student's stay. The goal is to create lasting relationships through quality and effective services.

Pierre-Emmanuel Bercegeay Paris, France

Product Design by Hidden Founders.

Tipple provides venue suggestions for the best happy hours in your city based on price, drink offerings, overall vibe and customer experiences. Tipple is a real-time marketing platform that enables its partners to actively promote themselves and their specials to users in their area.

Josh Bareket New York, NY

Product Design by Hidden Founders.

Finch is a tinder with a twist: it's a dating app where the user can't check others profile picture before matching. All what users can do initially is hear each others voice and swipe.

Андрей Старостенко Moscow, RU

Product Design by Hidden Founders.