A fractional executive is hired by a company (most commonly, early-stage start-ups) to fill an executive role for a “fraction” of full-time work. Fractional executives guide companies through important decisions as they grow. Hiring a fractional CTO, CEO or CIO for example eliminates the costs of long-term commitments, high-end salaries, and all the employee benefits that come with a job.
Accomplice provides early-stage companies with flexible product and engineering services, so fractional CTO services fit our mission and client base. We were lucky enough to spend some time with Nathan Blew, who has worked as a fractional CTO for several companies to learn more about how it works.
First, let’s get to know a little bit about Nathan.
- Hometown: Mystic, Connecticut
- Current City: Savannah, Georgia
- Fun Fact: Nathan, his wife and four year old child traveled the world together for nearly two years.
- Top Three Favorite Travel Destinations: Thailand, Ireland and Italy
- Favorite Hobby: Crossfit
“Companies that are lacking certainty, and are needing technical expertise should consider a fractional CTO. If there is any uncertainty about the company’s future, the founder should not go out and hire a full-time CTO. Work with a fractional CTO to put together a roadmap to understand the outlook of your company over the next 12-16 months.”Nathan Blew
Nathan graduated with degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics in the early 90s in Boston during the dot com boom. He joined a company as a software engineer then a few years later pursued a graduate degree. Post graduate school, he founded a company with a partner in which he assumed the CTO role and he continued to fill the CTO role in various start-ups as his career progressed.
Throughout the years, people in his network would reach out seeking technical guidance or consultation early on in their new ventures – and he would say yes as often as he could. He came to realize, assisting early-stage companies lay the foundation for building successful technology products and teams was something he was not only talented at but enjoyed. Looking back he realized he has been assuming the role of a fractional CTO unofficially to many start-up founders in his network.
Example of Fractional CTO Projects
Nathan worked with a company that has about 100 employees and about $25 million in annual revenue to modernize their product and engineering teams. The company’s invoicing platform was slow and expensive which was negatively impacting their business. He assumed the role of an Engineering Manager and Director of Product to rebuild the invoicing platform and implement scalable processes which increased the company’s annual revenue by 10% and led to increased customer satisfaction.
For his current project, he is working with a client that has found product-market fit with their MVP. He is working with their small team to determine what is the best infrastructure, data storage, API architecture, etc that will allow the product to scale as the company grows.
What type of companies should consider working with a fractional CTO?
“Companies that are lacking certainty, and are needing technical expertise. If there is any uncertainty about the company’s future, the founder should not go out and hire a full-time CTO. Work with a fractional CTO to put together a roadmap to understand the outlook of your company over the next 12-16 months” says Nathan.
What are the benefits of working with a fractional CTO?
- Flexibility to try out how an executive will work and fit with your team at your company’s current stage, without committing to hiring them full-time
- Fractional CTOs have an enhanced creativity in solutions due to working on multiple projects within different verticals; they are forced to continually educate themselves on the newest technology and methodologies for successful product & development teams
- Young companies are able to tap into the knowledge of executives who have many years of experience without paying them a full-time salary
Interested in hiring a fractional CTO?
Reach out to Nathan! He is talented and passionate about helping companies grow & scale. If he is not available he has a great network that is eager to help.