Sure! There are quite a few senior executives of large companies who are angel investors. Unless there are specific competitive or ethical issues with a particular investment, there is nothing different from their employer’s viewpoint about investing in a private company rather than a public one. Read more
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
Most people think that the Peter Principle (employee rises to his level of incompetence) only applies to large organizations. Let me assure you that it is also alive and well within startups. I see startup founders and managers who are stalled transplants from large organizations, as well as highly-capable technologists trying to start and run a business for the first time.
Forty years ago, in a satiric book named “The Peter Principle”, Dr. Laurence J. Peter first defined this phenomenon. The principle asserts that in a hierarchy, members are promoted so long as they work competently. Sooner or later they are promoted to a position at which they are no longer competent, and there they remain, unless they start or join a startup to get the next level. Read more
The challenge you face is that there are other amazing ideas out there. Actually, there are many, many, brilliant, wonderful, amazing ideas out there. So faced with all these amazing ideas, investors invariably choose the ones that have been reduced to practice, developed traction of some kind and proved that they are amazing businesses, not just ideas. Read more