Wow, you are all really making me feel like participating in a start up is a terrible decision. Some very disheartening responses indeed!
I was was reading this string because I am a brand spanking new founder and I was looking for insight on how to find critical team members/co-founders. No doubt, I am naive but by reading most of these answers it seems start ups will go nowhere, founders have unrealistic expectations, and you will suffer through the development of the company and product. Not to mention that it is almost never worth becoming a cofounder...
Should I even pursue my idea? Well, the good news is that I will start my search for our third cofounder soon. But we are nowhere near getting funding yet. We need our Tech Cofounder first. For me it seems like a catch 22 - you can't get funding til you have the right people in place to bring the plan to life but... You can't get the good people til you can pay top dollar.
Here is how I am going to approach it:
- Mindset that the Tech Cofounder is key to the success and has valuable insight, expertise to make it a great success
- It is a mission driven idea and all have to believe in the mission and have a mindset that for profit does not have to be destructive profit
- We will all collaborate to map out each phase of the project and when we will be able to reach out to get funding
- We will determine our roles and responsibilities for each Founder and how much time it will take to get each task done
- We will determine if/when we need to be full-time on the project. Maybe one founder has to devote full time during one stage v the others... How can we compensate in those scenarios?
- Using the above to determine equity stakes
- We will all determine how far we can get without outside funding - so as to keep control over the company
- We will work through scenarios if one founder needs pay and how it impacts equity...
- Keep the conversation going and anticipate changes/new scenarios
If if after that plan does not work... Then onto plan B but my belief is getting the right cofounder up front is critical. Get the business of the ground with the right people in place.
But I would never ask anyone to forego salary for 2 years... That seems crazy to me.
Unless you have savings you can live off or they will pay all your expenses, you don't. That's why they struggle to find technical co-founders.
Founder is exactly this. Everybody will love the possibility to be a founder and receive a salary from the beginning. You are luck you don't have to invest your money as well. Normally, founders spend their time and their money. I see your situation as: You have the possibility to start a business with some investor backing you up. That's great. Welcome to the founders club! That's why you should only get in if you believe so much, in such a way you are happy to put your soul in that initiative.