From a completely biased perspective, I’d nominate the nascent and not yet completely visible rise of online equity investing platforms.
It’s your startup, so you can give early partners any title you want, but be aware of potential investor and peer implications. VCs and Angel investors like to see a startup that is running lean and mean, with no more than three or four of the conventional C-level or VP titles. More executives, or other more creative titles are seen as a big red flag.
In reality, startup titles should be more about the division of labor than an executive position. The most common ones I see and salute are CEO, CFO, and CTO. A few other credible ones would include Chairman of the Board (COB), Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Some would say that if you have a title at all, you are not doing enough work. Read more
For a sophisticated investor, there are none, because an uncapped note just doesn’t make sense (see my answer to “If a startup’s valuation is $x, how much larger should its cap on a convertible note be?”)
There is no standard thing called an “Investors Contract”, and it sounds as though you are trying to re-invent the wheel here. It also sounds as though you are doing all of this yourself, instead of using an experienced lawyer…which is a very, very bad idea. Read more
A while back I talked about how and where to find a co-founder in “For a Startup, Two Heads are Always Better Than One”. The feedback was good, but some readers asked me to be a bit more specific on attributes that might indicate an ideal startup partner. Even if you are looking in all the right places, it helps to know what you are looking for.
In this context, I’m broadening the definition of partner from co-founder to “business partner.” The reason is that good attributes apply equally well to “external” partners, as they do to internal partners, like a co-founder or CTO. A good overall example is the synergy between Google co-Founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, as well as with Chairman Eric Schmidt. Read more
Back from a hiatus, it’s time to venture forward once more. I appreciated hearing from those who asked about upcoming posts. Thanks in particular to the reader who reminded me that Part II of “Bored” of Directors Can Become Clash of Titans is still in the queue.
Let’s get right down to business: Dilution of founders’ and other early shareholders’ equity in startups is frequently a subject of intense interest and debate. Expert commentators including David S. Rose have written plenty on the subject; in fact, while I was editing this piece, David published a new post here at Gust: How does equity dilution work for startups? David’s earlier answer to a Quora question, together with an overview by Rincon Ventures’ Jim Andelman, prompted my renewed interest in the subject.