I’m a non-technical founder with experience working in different tech startups (as an employee). I’m in the process of working with a partner who is designing and developing our site. He’s more a design guy and is learning how to code for the web/mobile. He’s a young guy that has limited experience working at organizations (does a lot of freelance gigs).
Although he’s not a developer he’s learning how to code and implement various tech platforms together (coding a front end/back end). He’s informed me that he’s been putting in 12 hours days and wants to focus on the startup 100%. He also wants to do the marketing and create the site so that portion of it is automated. As well, when the site goes live there’s a portion where customers need their designs to be approved by a designer (since he’s a designer it will increase his workload).
To start, I’ve advised him that we should have a simple site up and running to further validate the model. Once we have sales and the company is running we can hire an experienced developer. He’s extremely keen on creating the site from scratch hence why he’s putting in the time.
It’s great that he’s creating the site but I’m afraid once we go live we might need to make changes/updates.
In our initial discussion, we verbally decided that the equity would be 50/50. I’ve created the overall business plan and financial forecasting. I also plan to be responsible for digital marketing, operations, and product delivery. I’ve advised him that we can outsource content marketing (writing) as it’s not my strength.
He’s coming back to me and wants 80% of the equity (from 50/50). He’s suggesting that the money will be invested into the company. As well, with 80% he will be responsible for the direction of the company. Please keep in mind that I’ve suggested that I pay him for the work but didn’t agree it. When we decided to work on the project he knew that I wasn’t a developer/designer.
I understand that he’s developing and designing out the site/platform but should I give away equity? I’d love to help with the design/development but it’s not my strength. I understand right now equity means nothing but I just want to protect myself so that I don’t screwed.
I want to be fair. Any suggestions on how I can work with this co-founder? What should the equity split be so that it’s fair.