Angel investor · Investor relations

Can seed investors ask you to replace a cofounder?

Nikola Aleksić QA Tester

April 19th, 2017

I have a friend who’s speaking with some angels right now for a seed round. One investor does not think one of his cofounders is experienced enough to be the technical cofounder. For my friend, he and his cofounders feel they have good chemistry and are all dedicated to making their company big, so they do not want to make a change. Of course seed investment is important to them, though. Is it normal for a seed investor to ask for a personnel change? How would you respond if you want to carry on that relationship?

Amit Bhattacharyya 17 yrs hands-on @ Ent. solution architecture, s/w design & development. Want to join Startups.

Last updated on May 13th, 2017

Great answers by Dane & Ugur here. The answer by Dane is rooted in practicality.

Time of investors is a precious entity and though they may not have explained much but did your friends try and understand why it came to this ? what triggerred this particular reaction from the investor? That is important. What if your friends goto present to seperate investors and they too feel the same way. Then what?


So go over that experience again in your mind frame by frame and keep the focus also on the investors you went to and evaluate what could have been the trigger points, do you need revising the messaging or need for better coverage amongst the founders to show more cohesiveness of the team and the business strength of this bonding between the founders.


Really, just trying to help you guys.

Think about it, does answering the question "can an investor ask a particluar question or not" really help you?

Take this experience as a chance for more introspection and scope for achieving further perfection in your friends messaging and bettering the interaction with investors and I am sure your friends will fly high with success.


Just my 2 cents ..wish you and your friends all the best!!



Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

April 20th, 2017

They can ask for anything they want if you want their money. They may not be asking the question you are asking us. They may simply believe that the person you get along with does not have the knowledge/experience they think you need.


You are also confusing your terminology. Angels do Angel rounds, not Seed rounds. VCs do Seed rounds and instead of telling you need to replace a CoFounder, they may just not talk to you again. VCs are more about how the team works together than technical skills, but they want to know that the CEO/COO/CTO/VP Sales can all do their jobs. Team dynamics is a VC thing.

Mark Wilson CEO

May 14th, 2017

if your gut doesn't need feel right about an investor, don't take their money. What you described is likely an investor who believes they know more about running your company than you do. While I have had a number of investors who turned out to be good advisors, I generally keep advisors separate from investors. You want investors who believe in your vision and who TRUST you. If trust isn't there, trouble will follow. It's fine for them to like the potential (financial) upside ... its an investment after all ... but first you want someone that wants to see you succeed because they believe in what your product or service can achieve. If they're only in it for the money, I wouldn't take their investment.

Ugur Cirak A New Journey Starting From Japan: SpeakMates.com

April 20th, 2017

I think most important thing in a founding team is not the money but the shared vision, commitments to the project and feeling in the same boat. Although the investor you mentioned might have a point about the technical cofounder, he or she can not be in a position to best decide. Look for money else where if you think you must keep the team same or even better convince the investor.