Mehrshad Pezeshk - Fractional-CTO

The Enigma of the Fractional CTO

Explore the dynamic role of Fractional CTOs and their surging demand in today's tech-driven world. Delve into their unique skill set, the benefits they bring to startups, and the factors that differentiate them from Interim CTOs.

At the intersection of technical brilliance and fluidity lies the Fractional CTO, a part-time or contractual Chief Technical Officer. They are typically engaged by startups or SMEs, offering vital technological insights and adeptly steering the tech team.

Fractional CTO: Technology Leadership’s New Vanguard?

Hailing from distinguished tech backgrounds, these part-time maestros wield vast knowledge and experience. Their engagement ranges from spearheading specific projects to working in tandem with the CEO or executive suite. Key benefits of enlisting a Fractional CTO include on-demand high-calibre expertise without the commitment of a full-time role or its cost.

Demand Catalysts for Fractional CTOs

Two core elements drive the surging demand for Fractional CTOs:

Remote work: By dissolving geographic barriers, remote work enables companies to tap into top talent regardless of location. Asynchronous operations further streamline part-time engagements.

High salaries for skilled tech professionals: The cost of hiring full-time leaders and senior tech staff poses a challenge for startups. This trend extends to roles such as DevOps, cloud infrastructure, and software development. Consequently, part-time rates have skyrocketed, with some professionals earning the equivalent of their previous full-time salary in a fraction of the hours.

In essence, remote and asynchronous organizations are fuelling this trend, presenting a plethora of reasons to engage FCTOs.

Fractional CTO Rate Spectrum

Rates for Fractional CTOs are diverse, and influenced by factors such as experience, niche skill sets, and the client’s budget. For instance:

  • Early-stage startups might pay $100/hour for tasks like developing a roadmap or building an MVP.
  • VCs may shell out $1000/hour for technical due diligence before making significant investments.
  • Common rates, however, fall between $150-300/hour.

Having worked as a Fractional CTO across numerous countries, it’s worth noting that higher rates and popularity are more prevalent in the US and UK markets.

Fractional CTO: Typical Scope and Projects

Strategic rather than hands-on, the scope of a Fractional CTO should be delineated upfront to align with agreed-upon commitments. Common assignments include:

  • Roadmapping and tech vision
  • Fundraising and M&A support (Documentation, API Docs)
  • Day-to-day delivery management
  • Architecture work and audits
  • Hiring, firing, or addressing abrupt tech team departures

Breaking into the Fractional CTO Sphere

Most startup founders’ inquiries for Fractional-CTO come from:

At present, I lack the bandwidth to take on FCTO clients, so I redirect incoming requests. However, if you’re contemplating becoming a Fractional CTO, be sure to weigh the pros and cons.

Things to consider when becoming a Fractional-CTO

Consider these crucial factors when eyeing a Fractional CTO career:

  • Income will fluctuate; some months yield record earnings, while others yield nothing.
  • Screening calls and interviews may consume a significant portion of your time, detracting from hands-on work.

Interim vs. Fractional CTO: A Comparative Glance

Although their tasks may overlap, Interim and Fractional CTOs serve different core purposes. For example:

  • Interim CTOs are typically engaged for rapid transformations, lasting from one to three months, and may demand full-time commitments.
  • Fractional CTOs provide ongoing, part-time technical leadership over extended periods, averaging 10-15 hours per week and engagements between three and twelve months. A common outcome for Fractional

In contrast, Company B necessitates continuous technical leadership, albeit part-time and over a more extended period. This situation often arises in early-stage startups, making Fractional CTOs the ideal choice.

These part-time technical wizards collaborate with founders to address an array of challenges, spanning technology, HR, and investor relations. Fractional CTO engagements typically last between three and twelve months and demand a workload of 10-15 hours per week.

In many cases, a Fractional CTO may be offered a full-time position or be asked to find a suitable full-time replacement upon completing their tenure.

In Conclusion: The Rise of the Fractional CTO

Fractional CTOs have captured the attention of the tech world due to their unique ability to offer specialized expertise on a part-time basis, making them a cost-effective solution for startups. With rates that vary based on experience and skill set, these professionals can command anywhere from $100 to $1000 per hour.

Fractional CTOs have gained considerable traction and higher pay rates in the US and UK markets. For those with a solid background and track record, becoming a Fractional CTO can present an attractive part-time or contractual career path.

Mehrshad Pezeshk

Mehrshad Pezeshk

Fractional-CTO​ - Co-Founder

More to explorer

Book A Free 30-min Consultation

No commitment, No pressure, or Obligation.