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Slicing Pie Handbook: Perfectly Fair Equity Splits for Bootstrapped Startups Paperback – 21 Sep 2016
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“Everybody” in our case is exactly two people, which makes it easy, but we’ve been going some time now and we’ve made all sorts of different types of contributions.
Even for us, I find the book simplistic.
So I’ve done this business before, twice (one and a half times, more like) and my partner is merely coding my ideas, since I can’t code for s**t. I’m not saying this confers to me any amazing rights, all I’m saying is I could not find our situation described anywhere in the book.
Also, if we do a Series A, it will be entirely because I know people who have done it before and in particular some who have backed me before. It’s not the first time I’m starting a company. There’s tons of good people out there, but to get funded it is better to have connections and a track record.
Again, there is no chapter to discuss the value of those contributions.
So it’s mega simplistic.
Regardless, I can totally see that the method described here is a colossal improvement on a handshake deal or on equal splits or whatever. I say this from experience, as I still do not speak to my partners from a venture 15 years ago.
And by reading it you get thinking about all sorts of issues, like how money that’s in the bank is money that survived the taxman and your living expenses and is worth “twice” money that is foregone income. Or how paying for space/equipment is “twice” as valuable as supplying space/equipment that some partner happens to have spare. I also like the diagram about leavers.
Even the money thing is not perfect, though. So, supposing your aunt gave you 50k and you only end up using 30k before bringing in professionals, the book says you can give the 20k back and not count it. Not entirely fair to your friends-and-family investor. The comfort of that 20k was worth tons to you. You at the very least have to allow that money to vest alongside the Series A, and even that is harsh.
Also, you can summarize this book in, dunno, thirty pages. It is very heavily padded out.
I liked it, as I say, but I’m very happy I bought it together with many other books, so I have no idea what I paid for it. If it was the list price, I was robbed ;-)