Finding cofounders

What kind of agreements to have with a cofounder during trial period?

Priyesh Sharma Mechanical Engineer, Product Development, Ex-Siemens, Ex-Cummins

Last updated on July 21st, 2020

I have found a potential cofounder. Both of us would like to work together for a trial period. The goal is to test out our work compatibility and team dynamics. What is a well-recommended test period? What kind of agreements are common for such a test period? How should the work done by each of us during this period be valued (compensated) before formally becoming cofounders?

21 July 2020:

A few more details:

  • I am working on the project full-time for the last 9 months and have been able to build an MVP.
  • The incoming partner will work for 10 - 20 hours per week and contribute to the continued product & business development

Peter Difilippantonio Startup guy with "Figure it out" in my DNA

July 21st, 2020

You could put together a contract similar to a "typical" cofounder's agreement, with equity-only as compensation and short-term vesting schedule. Will there be a "controlling" Founder? (Meaning is one of you going to hold more Founder's equity than the other). This is an important distinction to allow good answers to follow.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

August 9th, 2020

The first step is to figure out how you're going to measure "success" of your working relationship before anything else. Second, is why a co-founder? Do you both have identical vision for the company and identical goals? If you don't, then you're not co-founder material. You may have found your first employee though. Co-founder doesn't inherently mean "willing to work for equity only." It specifically means that you share a unified vision and goals. Your first employee might not be compensated with a salary, but it does not make them a co-founder.

What you're describing to me initially is that you have an early employee, not a co-founder.