Cofounded Styletag (raised $12 M, built Integrated fashion commerce), Ex Infy, Nordstrom, Entrepreneur, Seed investor
I have a completely different take on this. Before that, a bit of a background about me. I am the cofounder of one of the leading fashion ecommerce companies. I started and have scaled the venture to over 150 employees with multi-million dollar revenues. Before this, I worked with a large company for over 10 years.
Before you think about taking your hands off of internally running a tight organization and bringing someone to do it(be it a COO or a CEO or a MD, you should really think of implementing a very strong performance management framework. I have learnt this the hard way when I had to scale from 25 people to over 100 people in under a couple of months. Culture, performance and goals went haywire.
Give it a thought, your 31st employee that you hire will not have the same passion as you. For him its just about being in a job and taking home a secure salary.
You need to build a robust framework for performance monitoring in real time which also accommodates a way to keep people motivated and aligned with your goals. You also need to have some kind of a structure where compensation is linked to performance.
I implemented OKR in our organization. This is what is used in Google, LInkedin, Intel ect. Its very strong and robust. I tweaked it a lot to make a solid framework that is also very simple.
Once you have this in place, you could look at hiring a COO and you can start focusing outside for either bringing in investments or looking after distribution and alliances.
Your COO and your framework will ensure that the organization is aligned with your and your board's goals. and will be able to deliver results and at the same time, you will have a performance oriented culture in the company.
Hope I have been able to articulate my thoughts clearly. Please feel free to revert to me if you need any inputs on this. I would be happy to help you in actually implementing and monitoring this.
Do you have any paying customers? If no, then why dont you get some? You could tell them that the app will be out in the next __ weeks and if they sign up now, they can get a lifetime discount of 30%. This way, you will be able to bankroll though your customers and use this money for your development.
In today's environment, even if you approach investors, they will tell you to come back after you have seen some traction.
As far as your development costs are concerned, I suggest you find some good offshore development freelancers. There are very good developers I know who can help you out.
Do let me know if you need any inputs on this.
There are two clear paths for you.
After having raised several rounds of multi million dollars for my venture, My suggestion would be the following.
I understand that your SaaS solution would be in the 10-20K/year range. The risk because of the pricing is that scaling this would require lot of tactile and strategic thinking and experimentation. The most important thing for you is to figure out if there is a market for something. Hint: You will figure out only after you have acquired at-least 50 customers.
I would suggest you try and do it as a side business at-least until you have reached 10 paying customers from your existing 3.
By the time you reach 10, you will have enough confidence to jump full time into this.
By the time you reach 50, you know that there is enough uptake for this.
Now you can decide if you want to bootstrap or raise capital and you could go to series A directly. In your case both are possible.
Do let me know if you need more inputs. Would be happy to help you think through this and also help you in scaling up.
I have over built a multi million dollar business and also have 10 years of experience working for large companies.
I have a different take on this. You should work for startups for 2 to 3 years. In the meanwhile, try to find problems for which people are ready to pay money to get solutions to.
See if you can build a business on the side around it. You might fail many times. But dont give up. Once you go through this drill, your chances of building a successful company will be high and also at the same time, you will figure out if sarting something on your own is something you really enjoy doing.
All the best