So, what does it take to launch a successful startup? Is it mastering the techniques for creating popular apps? Or are there only technical abilities involved? Nothing could be further from the truth for many firms where non-technical entrepreneurs have developed award-winning tech solutions.
News for people who compare developing apps without technical expertise to cooking without the proper recipe. Around the world, founders and CEOs without technical expertise shape and build tech firms.
1. Brian Chesky
Let’s start with Airbnb, the startup that transformed the idea of a home away from home. The co-founder of Airbnb is Brian Chesky. He began as a designer as well. By succeeding where brilliant minds have failed, the peer-to-peer lodging service was founded, and a billionaire on the internet was created. Time Magazine also included Brian in the 100 most influential individuals list.
After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design in 2004, Brian began working as an industrial designer for a company in Los Angeles. The Rhode Island School of Design alumnus is now rubbing elbows with people like Mark Zuckerberg, the tech-savvy founder of Facebook.
The business first turned a profit in 2016. Canada’s Luxury Retreat, the social payment firm Tilt, and the travel accessibility business Accomable were among the companies it acquired in 2017. In 2018, Beyond Airbnb offered Airbnb Plus and premium rentals. In March 2019, Airbnb successfully closed a deal to buy the hotel booking website HotelTonight for nearly $400 million.
2. Melody McCloskey
A non-technologist is the creator of StyleSeat, the largest marketplace for beauty services and an online appointment management system for stylists. Melody McCloskey and co-founder Dan Levine get along remarkably well because they both have a passion for developing products that appeal to the cosmetics industry. StyleSeat has generated more than 300 million dollars worth of appointments. Melody’s business provides an excellent listing of 200K hairdressers in 15,000 cities. After earning a degree from UC Davis in French and International Relations, Melody had no interest in creating a computer startup.
When she received not one, not two, but three styling calamities costing USD 300 each, this was going to change. She was a product PR specialist who made history when she left her position to found StyleSeat. Giving women the ability to find their ideal stylist with just one mouse click or swipe of a smartphone has proven to be a ground-breaking concept.
Melody’s venture, which innovated for women in tech, has demonstrated unequivocally that technical expertise will only get you so far, particularly when starting a tech firm. Speed and decision-making skills are ultimately essential. You’ll succeed if you focus on improving your product management abilities rather than developing code. Melody elevated the idea of beauty with a cause to a new level by generating money and monetizing it.
3. Alex Turnbull
Alex Turnbull of Groove HQ, a non-technical guy who founded a leading IT firm, is the best person to tell you that slow and steady wins the race. To create the wireframes, he first sketched. This process resulted in innovation when he started the helpdesk software business Groove.
Alex describes in his blog how he used Photoshop to generate prototypes of the app and close the comprehension gap between himself and the other co-founders. It required courage and tenacity for a devoted software fan and ardent surfer without technical knowledge to install the software. But in 2011, Alex was a trailblazer, launching live chat when no one else had even considered it.
Alex spared many iterations and resources due to his excellent understanding of the tech sector. Serial entrepreneur Alex’s business generates millions in recurring revenue each month. The result of a great deal of effort and perseverance was Groove. And from the emerging statistics, Groove attracts investors and advisers like a renowned businessman, speaker, and angel investor David Hauser.
4. Perri Gorman Chase
Perri Gorman Chase, a non-tech co-founder, had the idea for an email unsubscribe service, and with the assistance of her IT pals, Unroll.me was created. Here are her own words on what she discovered. Prototypes may look good on the surface, but Perri’s goal was more easily understood by others thanks to visual design.
She was successful in sharing her concept with engineers and developers, who turned it into reality. Understanding whether the engineering team can communicate in one’s language and vice versa is the main concern. Perri discussed the importance of understanding the environment, databases, programming, and API integrations—or, to put it another way, how things work together.
Controlling business outcomes and getting the fundamentals correct go hand in hand. To succeed like Perri, keep a database and comprehend technical procedures at all times.
5. Walker Williams
Walker Williams, the founder, and CEO of Teespring was a cartoonist and writer before he decided to start a software firm. He had no prior experience with coding or programming. Right from the start, Walker explored different interests. He decided to become an entrepreneur at the age of 16. He later earned a BA in history and the arts from Brown University. After graduating from college, he worked with co-founder Evans Stites Clayton to develop a platform for personalized goods. Teespring stands apart from competitors in the industry thanks to its bespoke, distinctive designs, sales targets, and even item prices.
Teespring alone was valued at USD 30 million in 2016. Because of his ground-breaking social commerce business, Walker was recognized as the top entrepreneur. But it all started when the two pals Evans and Walker created and sold a t-shirt to mark the closure of a neighborhood hangout while they were still in college. Teespring now receives 100,000 orders per month and is expanding! Even Y Combinator’s blog wrote about it.
6. AJ Forsyth
AJ Forsyth, the founder, and CEO of iCracked has degrees in both physics and biology/psychology! Before settling on the on-demand smartphone repair service offered by iCracked, he tried his hand at everything from winemaking to beekeeping. Forsythe established iCracked years before receiving his degree from California Polytechnic State University, which he did in 2011. Forsythe and his business, iCracked, have gone a long way from a college dorm room in 2010 to the largest, most effective repair service for tablets and smartphones. The business works in 11 countries and has over 4K certified iTech personnel. Due to his success, AJ was also included in Forbes’ list of the 30 under 30. iCracked is an early adopter with a twist when it comes to the next step toward smart homes for everyone.
7. Stephanie Tilenius
Stephanie Tilenius is the founder and CEO of Vida Health Inc. She graduated with degrees in economics and international finance from Harvard and Brandeis Universities. What then inspired her to launch a tech-based health enterprise despite her lack of technical training? Stephanie aimed to offer programs from seasoned healthcare professionals and top medical institutions coupled with skilled, on-demand, tailored health coaching.
In the US, about 133 million people have chronic health issues and live alone. Her father had 4 chronic health issues and while she worked to construct a health infrastructure to support him, Stephanie saw the need for having a scalable continuous mobile care platform and Vida Health was formed.
According to Stephanie, Vida Health is the first company to offer “horizontal digital therapeutic” services. Through a fund called Rivet Ventures, she also assists female business owners.
8. Sean Rad
Sean Rad, the founder and chairman of Tinder, dropped out of college before starting the dating app and rising to the position of CEO! Tinder was started in 2012 by Rad and two other individuals. Two months after its introduction, Tinder reached a million matches.
Additionally, Tinder has more than 3.7 million paying subscribers, an increase of 81% from the same quarter in 2017. At the moment, Tinder is worth USD 3 billion. One of the most successful apps in the app store is this one.
9. Jamie Wong
Jamie Wong is the founder and CEO of Vayable, a software business that leverages technologies to encourage travel, and a master filmmaker. Jamie has experience in advocacy, communication, and disruptive media. She studied politics, history, and art before transferring to the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University after earning a BA in history from Wesleyan University. In 2010, she started Vayable because she felt the urge to share unique and group travel experiences. Since then, it has been quite the trip. In addition to being present in 240 cities, Jamie’s tech company has been highlighted in the NYT, WSJ, and CNN.
10. Evan Sharp
Evan Sharp, Pinterest’s co-founder, and CCO, was obviously not technical when he had the idea. Evan attended Columbia University to study architecture. He first studied history at the University of Chicago to earn his BA.
While doing the architecture course, he first met Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann. The photo-sharing website went live in 2010. It is among the most innovative social media platforms available. In October 2018, there were 175 billion Pinterest Pins and 250 million monthly active users on the forum.
11. Tim Westergren
Tech titans like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg spring to mind when discussing behemoths and giants in technology. However, for tech firms and products to be successful, a CEO with technical experience is optional. Tim Westergren, the CEO, and founder of Pandora Radio, is an example. He is a musician and sound engineer with a solid grasp of the principles that underpin the IT sector and musical compositions.
Before founding Pandora Radio, Tim had various jobs to make ends meet, including as a nanny, recorder, and music composer. Tim, named one of Time’s Most Influential 100 individuals in 2010, has guided the tech startup to become a significant participant in the music business.
Tim has experienced everything there is to experience in terms of Pandora Radio, from receiving USD 2 million in back wages to finalizing a $9 million fundraising transaction. Tim, who retired from his position as CEO in 2017, still motivates and guides the Pandora staff.
12. Adam Schwartz
Adam Schwartz is a true businessman who, before to founding TeePublic, founded the website CollegeHumor.com, BustedTees, and another profitable startup. Particularly BustedTees enjoyed tremendous success initially, but when the business’ profit margin started to decline, Schwartz decided it was time for something different, and TeePublic was created.
Schwartz successfully accelerated the new business’s development thanks to his strong commercial acumen and comprehensive awareness of the marketplace. As a result, TeePublic would grow as big as its predecessor in just one year and continuously quadruple its profits over the following years.
Because of his distinctive viewpoint on business, Schwartz was able to launch and grow several successful firms while also knowing when to give up. In particular, he could spot the exact point at which similar concepts overran the market. He concluded that there was nothing he could do to improve the existing products or services, so he decided he had to sell the company or shut it down.
As a result, he sold TeePublic to Redbubble for $41 million in cash. TeePublic and Schwartz, who would go on to succeed in other ventures, benefited from this choice.
13. Martin Hosking
The co-founder and current CEO of Redbubble, Martin Hosking, earned his bachelor’s degree in history and economics and his master’s degree in business from the University of Melbourne. When he founded the Redbubble online art community, he needed to gain prior tech skills.
Nevertheless, despite the company’s IPO being valued at $288 million, Hosking’s entrepreneurial efforts enabled the company to earn $55.8 million in 2016. Major investors like Acorn Capital, Piton Capital, and Blackbird Ventures have shown interest in Redbubble. The business also made a significant acquisition in 2018, purchasing US rival TeePublic for $41 million in cash.
Redbubble has experienced astounding success since going public, with total reported revenue from services in 2019 valued at $307 million. Hosking’s popularity continues to grow alongside the company’s success, and he is currently the chair and an investor in several businesses.
14. Nextdoor Founders
The creators of Nextdoor come from a variety of backgrounds. One holds a bachelor’s degree in English, another in Marketing, and so forth. Interestingly, none of the five founders has a background in technology, but that hasn’t stopped them from developing this wildly popular software.
Since its initial release in 2008, Nextdoor, which was founded with the straightforward notion of letting people get to know their neighbors and areas, has experienced rapid growth. It is supported by several influential parties, including Benchmark, Comcast Ventures, Greylock Partners, and others, and has received an estimated $455.2 million in funding.
In recent years, Hoodline, a news website, and Streetlife, a social networking service in the UK, have both come under the ownership of Nextdoor. However, adding ten additional significant nations to its usefulness in addition to the US was what propelled Nextdoor to the next level. In 2017, Nextdoor added advertising to its site, creating a second source of revenue.
Nextdoor was able to raise $123 million in the capital in 2019 and attain a valuation of $2.1 billion in the same year, thanks to these wise business decisions.
15. Whitney Wolfe Herd
Whitney, one of Tinder’s co-founders, is not a tech graduate and has a major in international studies. She has prior experience working for a tech firm. When Whitney established Bumble, her prior experience working with a software firm was beneficial. She expanded on the knowledge she had gained from her previous business and utilized creativity and branding to depart.
The dating app Bumble gives women the upper hand. Bumble, the second-largest dating app in the world after Tinder, empowers women to take the initiative and start conversations. By doing this, less harassment is experienced by women when using other dating apps. A unique concept is what distinguishes a product. Women should be able to choose who texts them and strikes up a conversation, according to Bumble. Women flocked to the platform as a result because they felt more secure.
These and numerous other businesses have repeatedly demonstrated that you don’t need technical expertise to start and grow a successful firm.
Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of these business owners relied entirely on their individual experiences and aptitude for spotting market needs to achieve multi-million dollar success.
All it takes to become a mogul is having the correct concept at the right time, having good people and business abilities, and having a lot of determination. Remember that even Steve Wozniak had Steve Jobs’ assistance to successfully sell Apple.