I run a startup that is in a very hot space right now, with lots of investment. I brought in a business cofounder who was excited about the industry, had great credentials, and previous startup experience.
Several months down the road as we have started to build out our prototype, it’s becoming clear that he doesn’t have a full grasp of the product and his understanding of the industry is entirely shaped by Silicon Valley investor perceptions (basically, his market research is TechCrunch and CrunchBase). Each time he goes to an industry-related conference or event, he comes back with a new idea of how to pivot in order to attract investors, dismissing our current approach as generic. I constantly have to remind him of A) or initial goal and B) what our product actually does to bring him back to earth.
Despite his early contributions in helping build a group of advisors and doing the initial setup, now that we have gotten to the product development phase, his ability to provide value per his business role has dried up. Most importantly, he hasn’t delivered any business strategy. After constantly asking, and getting nothing, I finally produced a business plan myself and just asked him to make updates per his research and findings.
I know he’s working on other projects (I’m still working a full time day-job, so no issues with that), but I meet fairly regularly throughout the week with my other cofounder and key advisor. I just don’t see anything from him. He has a substantial chunk of equity, yet the ratio of hours put in me vs him is on the order of 20:1. There has been no financial contribution from him (though there was no expectation of that up front). I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt due to a very impressive resume, but I’m growing tired of the constant excuses for not applying to incubators or reaching out for even cursory chats with potential investors.
My question is – is this guy deadweight or is this a leadership issue on my part?