What is a non-executive director and why does a tech startup founder need one?

A non-executive director (NED) is a member of the board who does not play a day to day role in the running of the business.

This role is valuable for a startup founder to have an outside objective opinion of the companies strategies and decisions. As the NED is not a full time decision making director or an investor they can play this more objective role whilst being a supporting role for the founder or CEO.

Just an email away an NED can provide feedback, insights, share experience and information based on skill or market areas and make introductions to their network.

Typically an NED will join a board post series A funding and at the seed & series A stages the founder may prefer the informal mentor approach. These support roles are useful as a founder or CEO may be leading a business for the first time, a non-exec director will likely have been through similar experiences multiple times across several different companies and markets. This ‘grey hair’ paradigm can help founders develop more grounded and thought through approaches as with the support of an NED who has experience, both successes and otherwise in relevant areas.

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