Have a brilliant tech idea but don't know how to code?
- Do you listen to tech bros and wonder what they are talking about?
- Are you confused whether to hire product leads, UX designers, front end or back end developers?
- Do you know the difference?
Ali Jetha, Angel Investor & Chicago Booth MBA
As an angel investor in technology, I find Sophia’s insights and advice very useful, as well as time-saving, helping filter the relevant aspects. Thank you!
Do you have an idea for an app or a web-based business, but no idea how to build it? In this course you will get an overview of the basic concepts you need to run or launch a tech startup as a non-technical founder from someone who has done it themselves.
A non-technical founder’s job is not to learn to code, but to successfully manage the technology production process and make sure it aligns with business goals. To do this successfully, non-technical founders need to understand technology workflows, learn how to ask the right questions and collaborate with designers and developers.
Sophia Matveeva teaches this course in person in London, including at London Business School. Course alumni have used the course to build tech businesses, get funding for their startups and transition into tech careers.
Hi, I'm Sophia
I'm a non-technical founder of a tech business. The companies I've created won App of the Day by Mashable, were rated as the top fashion tech companies by Forbes and Grazia and reached thousands of users globally.
I've set up the Tech For Non-Techies education community to help other non-technical innovators go from idea to thriving product and build their dreams.
I’ve taught my workshops at The University of Chicago, London Business School and Oxford University, as well as at corporates and accelerators. I’ve also written for the Financial Times & The Guardian on technology and entrepreneurship, and host the Tech for Non-Techies podcast.
I love helping entrepreneurs and I've advised Chicago Booth’s New Venture Challenge and the Microsoft x London College of Fashion incubator, as well as many ventures and investors.
I hold an MBA from Chicago Booth, and a BSc (Hons) in Politics from Bristol. I also speak Russian and French.
I split my time between London and the South of France, where I play tennis and sail with huge enthusiasm and very little skill.
When I got the admissions letter from Chicago Booth, I thought life was going to be sorted. Or at least my career!
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business was consistently ranked as the global #1 business school by Business Week and The Economist, so I was feeling pretty smug.
My plan, as I wrote in my admissions essay, was to get to business school, come up with a brilliant startup idea, get a team together, get funding and leave with an MBA and a startup. Naturally, world domination would follow.
By this point, I had worked in a top financial PR company, had a stint in a private equity firm in London and worked in India. I had very little knowledge of the tech sector, but it seemed to be where all the opportunity was coming from.
I desperately wanted to join the tech boom, and spent most of business school testing various ideas for tech startups. Eventually, the beginnings of an idea for a retail tech business began to take place.
I managed to convince some of my classmates to join me and, through sheer bloodymindedness, we got into the Chicago Booth New Venture Challenge, the top academic accelerator in the United States.
The problem was, none of my classmates actually new how to build the thing we were pitching. Naturally, we didn't get very far in the accelerator, but again, through more persistence and bloodymindedness, I managed to raise some angel funding and marched bravely towards global tech domination.
This is when disasters began to strike. I worked with a part time CTO, who was planning to raise his Big Tech job when we had raised more money. He said words to me I did not understand.
I looked them up on Google and watched endless YouTube explanations, but that left me more confused. I signed up and paid for coding courses, which I either hated and completed or failed to finish and wallowed in guilt.
There are plenty of courses helping you to retrain to become a developer or a data scientists, but that's not what I needed. I needed to know how to work with technical professionals to deliver a product into users' hands.
I ended up learning how to hire and work with developers, designers and data analysts on the job. It was a hard, painful and expensive journey, but when I was going through it, there was no other way.
I began writing about what I was learning in Forbes, and when my article What Non-Technical Founders Really Need To Know About Tech reached thousands in less than a day, I realised that I was not alone.
I began giving talks to help non-technical entrepreneurs get the skills and confidence to build their tech ventures. I taught University of Chicago alumni, spoke at the Mayor of London's international trade promotion agency London and Partners and at entrepreneurial hubs like WeWork.
One day, an MBA student from London Business School came to my talk and found it so useful, he convinced London Business School to host the course.
Since then, the students have used this course to create their first products, get funding and get clarity for their business plans.
I believe it is not only possible but desirable for people without computer science backgrounds to create digital products, so we can all benefit from diversity of thought and have fun, useful new tech.
Creating something new is hard enough (I know!), but tech knowledge doesn't have to be a barrier. This course will save you thousands in cash and weeks of stress.
In this online course you will learn
1) The product lifecycle
- Workflow: from idea to product. The steps to take and the professionals involved
- How to learn what you really need and avoid the rest
- Investors’ view
2) Product Management basics
- What product managers do and how that fits into the job of running a startup
- Aligning business metrics with product metrics
- Product management interview questions
3) Design Thinking
- Validate your idea
- User research
- How to test if users like and understand your designs
4) UX Design
- Why designing for users is different to designing for beauty
- Introduction to protoyping & no code tools
- How to connect design to code
- Back end vs front end
- Why one costs more than the other
- Back end and server basics
6) User traction
- Get the first users on your product
- Engage users to keep coming back
- Bake user growth into your product from the start
7) Product Analysis
- How to analyse your product for continuous improvement
- Connect product analysis to business success
8) AI and the feedback loop
- What data scientists really do
- Building the AI factory: the four components
- AI algorithm: not as hard as it sounds
This course is great for:
- Entrepreneurs who want to build technology products but do not have technical backgrounds
- Non-technical professionals working in tech companies
- Business school students who want to supplement their business knowledge
- Professionals wanting to transition to the fast-growing technology sector
- Professionals servicing tech company clients, e.g. recruiters, lawyers, consultants
Downloadable materials for each module.
Recommended reading, podcasts & videos to enhance your learning.
Nasi Rwigema, London Business School MBA
At London Business School, we built a six month programme dedicated to helping students transition into tech. Tech for Non-Techies was one of the most valuable workshops we ran through the program.
The course will consist of eight modules, split over eight weeks. You will get pre-recorded videos, written material, suggested reading and homework each week to solidify your learning.
If you get stuck and need clarification on what you're learning, just post your question in the course website and you'll get a response within 24 hours.
Will I get feedback for my homework?
What if I don't have an idea or if I'm not a founder?
Do I need to know how to code or have any technical skills?
Lucia Marin Fabian,
Founder of Loop
I attended Tech for Non-Technical Founders and it helped me understand all the aspects involved in developing an app, and helped me get investment to build my first prototype.
Sophia explained everything in a very clear and simple way. I couldn’t recommend this workshop highly enough
Fru Bekefi, Second Home, Community & Innovation Programme Manager
Sophia’s ‘What non-technical founders really need to know about tech’ is excellent. Expect lots of actionable insights on what you need to know (hint, you won’t need to code) and how you can learn to work with developers and technical co-founders.
You’ll end up saving years in trial, error and making your own mistakes.