My partner and I have created an LLC together with an operating agreement that we both signed onto with the help of a lawyer. I was providing technical side based on 6 years prior research; he was going to provide customer-side expertise and funding (was told originally $200k to be set aside) to get us going. In my mind, that was plenty enough for what we wanted to do.
We hired a developer friend of mine to make a prototype system – he undercharged me and over-delivered. With partner’s blessing made another purchase from the developer to make the system customer-ready, again significantly under-charged and over-delivered (as part of a co-development effort, with me helping out, to keep costs down).
After delivery of final units to me, I asked my partner to pay, and he didn’t… for months. When we spoke about it last time, I told him I was embarrassed about it; it seemingly emotionally triggered him and he complained of the work not being delivered on time (no time frame, just estimates + he was in the loop, and I had cleared the approach with him beforehand). It seems like there have been some miscommunications about expectations going on here, despite the fact that he has visibility to the dev trello environment and nearly bi-weekly phone calls.
As an aside, he was expecting to get the 200k from his other business partner, who has not paid him … apparently, after many issues, causing my partner to likely take him to court as he told me last time. Then, my partner goes about getting involved in real estate deal to help his business (plus will help our business), and he’s been crazy busy dealing with that.
In my opinion, he has too much on his plate. But I just need to occasionally bounce things off him and pay vendors. I can run most things myself.
After our last call when he complained about paying, not being quick on my feet about the problem, I sent 2 emails afterwards … one explaining high-tech product development cycles and the reason we did the 1st project (totally an amazing deal for what we got, despite needing a 2nd iteration to fix some issues), then a 2nd email why we got a killer deal from my friend who only charged us $3000 for probably about $40k+ worth of time in reality (because he’s a good friend). I said that we should give him a bonus or perhaps the promise of one later on, expecting a conversation to ensue.
I then got a text from him saying he can’t do this any longer, and communication fell off a cliff. He doesn’t pick up the phone when I call, nor when I txt him he rarely replies. Misses appointments with me often when he says we can talk… I’m getting super-frustrated here! Up thru that last call, he was super-bullish on things and there is a lot to look forward to here… already have 1st customer on board too.
If I were to guess… perhaps he’s overwhelmed with his other business, and maybe he’s embarrassed about not being able to hold his side of the bargain of funding us, and maybe delaying things in a shitty way till he can figure things out. Or he wants out and is too much of a wimp to discuss it.
I sent a 3rd email to him trying to smooth things over, explaining that we’re in a relationship and it’s critical that we talk often and work thru things. No answer. I have been approaching this is a mostly well-balanced way, but feeling increasingly pissed off. Not sure what I can do! We have IP pending signatures to get the patent application sent in from the lawyer. Not sure how to handle … Any thoughts?
One thought is to go to mediation or discuss breaking up our company because of non-performance on his end … but if he doesn’t take my calls, how can we even get there? I want to ideally resolve this as it will be the much easier path, and I want to be compassionate to what’s going on for him… but I think we’re past that now. It sucks to be ignored / far-back-burnered.