Should I force my cofounder out?

My cofounder doesn’t have a specific role in the company (no technical or business skills), but to his credit is very smart and to some degree has been the glue that kept everything together when the going got tough. Right now he does most of the admin/hr/menutia work, but doesn’t offer much in terms of actual business or technical contributions outside of his opinion. To be fair, we probably wouldn’t have gotten to where we’re at now (generating enough traction to make VCs excited) without him.

My concern is that moving forward, there isn’t something that he can take ownership and will prove to be deadweight. Moreover, he still hasn’t left his PhD program. He claims that he’s just waiting for us to close out our round, but if anything that frustrates me even more.

Should I force him out or should I try to find a role where he can be involved and contribute without slowing us down/getting in the way? I need to figure this out before his 25% equity vests and its too late to act if need be.

  • They always recommend getting rid of people who are the glue and helped you get to where you are. I am sure you will enjoy that 25% share of equity. And if the VC falls through maybe you can get him to come back to work for free seeing as his skills only lie with “menutia.”

  • Is he vested at all if he is you can drop him working with you but his share will still hold weight and you will get sued. You boot him you will definitely get sued. Find a spot for him he’ll probably end up diluted and future vc’s can deal with him. If hes not driving you crazy don’t. Be a dick because your going to get sued and your shit may never rebound. Its better to have a interest in something then a 100% of a sinking ship.

  • The real answer is – its up to you. Are you pretty certain that a situation won’t arise in the future where your cofounders soft skills will be necessary for successful resolution? If so, try to force him out, just don’t get yourself screwed up in the process. I personally wouldn’t do that just because its hard to find someone with a good track record in resolving nonlinear, “soft” problems.

  • The benefit of having partners (co-founders) is to have complimentary skill sets. There are times when companies are growing to where you need to redefine each persons role. Many times, a co-founder does not know what additional roles they can/should be taking on so the team should work together to redefine who should be where, doing what. Probably true of yourself as well. If you focus on getting the best performance from co-founders and employees alike, you will probably not have time to worry about them being compensated for what they have already provided.

  • My co-founder does not have technical or business skills too, but thanks to him everything is moving in the right direction. He keeps me focused and has very good analytical skills and comes up with reasonable suggestions/plans most of the time.

    I think startup=learning and growing. I am learning every day, so does my co-founder. I know that time will come (pretty soon) and he will quickly learn the skills needed to keep pushing everything forward. He will grow in his role-whatever it is. I know it from my past and present experience with him. It is hard to find such person and would be painful to loose.

    Be greedy for equity when it comes to investors, not co-founders/employees.

  • Be careful of the bridges you burn. It may come back to haunt you in the future. BUT, I understand what it is like to have dead weight employees who every once in a while show a stroke of genious that saves their ass. If you end things, make sure it is on good terms and that this person gets a fair %.

  • This what I don’t get.

    You want to be the decisive leader of your venture, so much so you are willing to, as the post title states, force a co-founder out.

    That is a legitimate option.

    But why do you need a forum to give you advice? Do you lack confidence? Were you hoping for validation?

    Maybe if you let us know the name of the venture we could give more specific feedback.

  • What I don’t understand is that he has helped you … Business ops and upkeep are just as important. And if he is the glue … if you remove the glue things fall apart so whats the issue?

  • “They” executed while you directed, what an easy life you have. A squeeze out for equity. There’s no shortcut to success, it’s all about productivity and hard work. You think things like this happen at fortune 500? You’re a delusional, inept, insincere, individual that doesn’t understand value and hardwork. I applaud you, man of wisdom, good luck when you’re startup fails and your cc buddies turn their back on you.

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