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Top 7 Qualities of a CTO for Every FinTech Start-Up

Date Posted: 1 February, 2021

The FinTech industry continues to redefine how businesses and consumers interact with various financial products. The age of institutional monopoly in the financial industry is about to witness a reckoning from the burgeoning FinTech industry.

Unlike traditional institutions, FinTech start-ups operate with an agile structure, led by C-level executives (CEO, COO, and CTO). It is often the case that these executives are responsible for managing day-to-day development, operations during the bootstrapping phase of a start-up.

Since FinTech start-ups count on their technical finesse to outgrow their competition, the role of a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) becomes exceptionally critical.

We have recently engaged with several start-ups across the region to support with finding an ideal candidate for their CTO post. Shown below is a list to keep handy when seeking the right professional for this job.

What makes an ideal CTO for a FinTech start-up?

Proven Technical Discipline and Project Management Skills

A proven technical discipline is a core aspect of any CTO’s skillset. The CTO should be able to understand the specific business requirements of the company and create a framework that utilises existing, validated technologies for fulfilling these objectives.

Along with a strong technical background, CTO’s should have excellent project management skills. Taking a project off-the-ground by yourself and heading a technical team are two different things. The right CTO should be able to communicate project requirements effectively to the team and bridge the gap between business requirements and technical implementation.

Awareness of Market Dynamics (Technical & Economic)

No start-up can survive without keeping track of its competition and ongoing market trends. A CTO should be aware of other companies working on a similar product or competing for the same consumer segment.

At the same time, the CTO should be on top of new technologies or developments that can provide an edge to the start-up. Most new technologies are built to address the limitations of existing platforms, so staying on top of these developments is necessary for every start-up.

Full Stack Technical Expertise

When looking for a CTO, a start-up should focus on professionals who understand the technologies, frameworks used within the start-up. No individual can master all the ongoing technologies, so it’s critical to be specific about the right skills.

A CTO with full-stack technical knowledge can understand the development issues and provide practical solutions. At the same time, it helps a CTO hire the right talent for the development team.

Strategic Planning and Hustle

The world of technology is full of surprises; you never know when a new technology will disrupt the entire industry. A CTO should be adept in strategic planning, especially when it comes to the upcoming development phases of a FinTech start-up.

In addition to the technical expertise, a CTO should be able to understand the business direction of the company. He should be ready to hustle through rapid-growth periods or turnaround times during critical lifecycle moments of a start-up.

Robust Networking Skills

Every FinTech start-up experiences roadblocks when venturing into new areas or developing niche products. A CTO should have an established network of professionals or technology consultants that can help the start-up address such issues and sustain momentum.

Most of the technology leaders maintain relationships with a diverse group of professionals to handle such a crisis.

Ability to Embrace Start-Up Culture

The start-up culture is vibrant, aggressive, and overwhelming at times. A CTO should be ready to embrace this culture and take any challenge head-on. It’s not uncommon for a start-up to overwork traditional companies. You may come across small teams that have outdone their competition through sheer hard work and impeccable work ethics.

Additionally, when a start-up brings in a CTO, they expect the CTO to adapt their cultural setting or respect them, at the least. Leading a team with people from different ethnic, geographical, and financial backgrounds requires a high emotional quotient.

Bottom Line

Every start-up needs a CTO that it can rely on for all the technological roadblocks and consistent growth. Your CTO will have a massive impact on the success of your start-up, do not miss the due process in hiring one!

Mackenzie Jones Middle East is a talent acquisition company that helps start-ups find the right talent for their team. Are you looking for a Talent Acquisition Partner? Reach out to us today via email at

Get in touch with:

David Mackenzie

Group Managing Director