Almost all early-stage startups go through a typical problem of wrong estimation of development tasks. One can solve this situation with a reasonable estimation of timelines and budget. The development process needs detailed requirements and prioritization and for early stage startups this approach becomes crucial.
Nobody likes to estimate tasks. However, it is pointless to start development without clearly measurable tasks and valid requirements. Founders are often eager to quickly launch a project on a single feature without forming specific requirements for it. Limited resources can also play on a start-up when a low-cost contractor is hired for development and bills on the basis of an hourly rate.
Such an approach is quite applicable when a young project has an experienced CTO who fully controls the timing and quality of development. Otherwise, a team of developers working on an hourly basis can delay the implementation of features for months and even years ahead. For an early-stage startup, such a scenario is similar to death.