10 C-Level Positions That Are Red Flags For Funding

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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

10 Key Traits Of An Ideal Entrepreneur Partner

Photo of Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt with Sergey Brin and Larry Page via Wikipedia.

Photo of Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt with Sergey Brin and Larry Page via Wikipedia.

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

Thinner Slices of an Extra-Large Pizza: Mathematical vs. Economic Dilution of Startup Equity

slice of pizzaBack 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.

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Antone Johnson , Founding Principal, Bottom Line Law Group
April 11th, 2014

How does equity dilution work for startups?

Equity dilution works when the same pie is divided among more people. The Founder of a company starts by owning all the shares representing ownership of the company. Over time, other people receive pieces of equity in exchange for work (employee stock options), money (seed, angel and venture investors), services (attorneys, directors, etc.) Read more