the most common questions/issues startup co-founders should agree on
Product / Business Basics
– What are we creating? What’s the goal?
– How should we divide the shares?
– What is the vesting schedule?
– Is there starting acceleration (does any vest right away because we are founders)?
– Is there a cliff?
– Is there an ending acceleration (due to termination, change in control, etc…)?
– How will decisions get made? Who has the final say?
Roles / Involvement
– What is each founders roles and responsibilities?
– How much time will be dedicated to the company by each founder? (full time / part time)
– What is each founder expected to produce and what are the performance expectations?
– Is someone contributing intellectual property that the company will now own?
– Who owns the intellectual property? Are the founders turning over any ideas / contributions to be owned by the company?
– What happens if one of us leaves the company?
– What are the voting shares? How are disputes handled?
– Can any of us be fired?
– How much money do we need to get started? Where is it coming from?
– Will any of us be investing cash in the company? If so, how is this treated (equity/debt/convertible debt?
– Will we be buying equipment for the business? – If so, how is this treated?
– What will we pay ourselves? Who gets to change this in the future?
– Will founders sign non-compete / non-disclosure?
Employee Stock Options
– What % do you set aside for employee stock options?