Drop deadweight founder and start again on our own?

Other technical cofounder and I feel that third guy, non-technical, is not pulling his weight at all, doing bare minimum, not expanding his limited domain knowledge or current skill sets, etc. He’s just coasting on the fact that he spent last two years building a social media based “brand” (account) related to our project. We’ve determined it’s worth to be at most $1000, since similar sized social media accounts go for this price. We know: we’ve bought some.

We wanted to reduce his 1/3 stake down to 5%-10% but he refuses, and he won’t negotiate selling us the brand if we leave. We’re not yet at MVP, but already resentful that we’re hacking for weeks and he hasn’t really done any of the social/community management or product space research that was expected of him. We have brought this up many times over the past few months but his behavior has not changed.

We have already tested waters and feel we can create our own brand. Should other technical guy and I start from scratch? How do we even determine how much someone’s effort is worth? Or a brand for that manner, one that is not yet bringing any real revenue?


  • Dump his ass. You can create a new brand by hiring a contract marketer to set it up for you, then hire a part timer to maintain with content. At this point, sounds like most valuable thing in the current brand is the name, which ain’t much if not yet tied to a big concrete achievement. Important thing is to seek counsel on how IP issue can be properly resolved when you both leave/breakup the current company.

  • Follow up: We were ready to walk away and did, but a conversation between other technical and flake has resulted in this guy willing to budge.

    Both other tech founder and I took foundrs.com quiz and came up with 11% and 12% respectively for this guy’s share, and that’s if he was actually doing his work. He wants to be 20-something% and has agreed to get his shares dilutes first, but that doesn’t mean anything because we are striving to remain bootstrapped.

    This is not my first rodeo, and my gut is telling me this guy is super bad news not only now, but even more so in the future.

    I may stay another month to finish MVP, so I at least have some visible product in the wild that next employer can see. Also curious how market will bite. My next move will be very obvious then, if it isn’t already.

    Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond.

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