Loyalty , the guy who stuck by you from day 1 or getting the new, right person for the job?

Peter Seow Co-Founder and CEO at Activpass Holdings

December 7th, 2016

If you now realised that your co-founders, the same ones that were right there when you first came up with the crazy idea ,can not really do the job, do you keep them by your side or do you go out and get really good , relevant people with your VC money. Your co-founders worked for next to nothing except your promise of a great future.

Brent Laminack Principal at OpenFace Systems, Inc.

December 7th, 2016

If he can't do the job, you have a responsibility to yourself, your VCs, and everyone involved to get someone in the position who can. Hire the best people you can for the tasks at hand. As to the promise of a great future: you can keep that promise by giving him stock options or stock. Keep him in an advisory capacity, or in some other role. Have a frank, open, discussion with him about the reasons he's being assigned a different role and try your best to keep him as a friend and on your team.

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

December 7th, 2016

This is not a binary decision.  I have worked with co-founders (real ones, those that we all came up with the idea together and struggled with the details at the beginning, not a recruited co-founder that still confuses me to its purpose). When we needed to readjust, one was able to create a new and, as it turned out, critical role for himself. They other could not evolve and I let him go. Perhaps the early team is not well suited for the role they started with, but can create a role you know you need filled. That includes the first CEO.  Some are just not prepared to lead an evolving team and company and need to be self aware of that.  The weakness in any person you need to trust is one that cannot see their own weaknesses and hangs onto a role or an approach that is lethal to the company. 

Marc Rowen

December 7th, 2016

IMO, once you take investment money, your choices become more limited in terms of balancing other factors versus company performance. Even if your investors don't demand it, you have an obligation to take actions that maximize their investment.

That said, even if they're not the right people now, can they grow into the right people? If so, that might be the best solution! Hopefully, you had a conversation with your co-founders about what taking investment money might mean in terms of future roles.

Hambirrao Patil

December 8th, 2016

Peter, only the planned Ideas and options to do gives you success. If you want success you must stick on plan and options. And most important Keen Observation over activities and the environment impact buy resource. Both leads you ultimately to make decision whether keep the guy or hunt new or  keep the guy and also hunt new.

Thank You!

Neil Gordon Board Member, Corporate Finance Advisor and Strategy Consultant

December 8th, 2016

If your co-founders can't do their jobs, and you keep them on in those positions, you're, in effect, taxing the shareholders in order to subsidize less than competent employees. Loyalty matters and your co-founders should be treated fairly. Best would be to find a role that's suitable; if that won't work, make the hard decision to let them go.

Rob G

December 8th, 2016

Both.  Loyalty is worth a lot and you will want just that when things get tough in your current startup and again on your next one.  That said, everyone needs to know their limitations. Assuming they are equity owners then their equity does not change.  If they want their equity to be worth something they should be able to support bringing in professionals to help grow the business.  Your investors can help ease the process a bit as they do not have the emotional attachment you have - their interest is in the success of the business. That could mean a buy out or partial buy out of your partners or simply finding more appropriate/productive roles for them.