A small amount equity and left with nothing

I was given the designation of CTO with 2% equity.

Initially I worked on things that didn’t actually require real technical skills that I used for my previous work. Slowly I realized that I didn’t have any technical decision making power as the other founders who had a similar technical background and higher shares made the decision on what rig to purchase and what products we needed. However those decisions were bad and the equipment was either of no use or was too unprofessional for the target projects. slowly my role was to fix those broken products and just to follow what others said. My technical skills rusted in the process and it started to depress me.

Another thing that irked me was the salary issue. I received a really low salary (that we agreed on since I was getting some shares) for a couple of months. My other co-founders had well paying jobs (they still do). I had to get money from my family to support myself in the new workplace.

Then there were some projects for which I spent money, updated in a sheet for reimbursement. That reimbursement process took too much time and I only partially received what I spent.

I didn’t receive any salary for about 6 months (due to bad business due to lack of marketing strategies and not getting any projects that would generate money) before I realized that I had had enough and I quit in a phone call with my co-founder and my friend. On the phone he assured me that he will get the unpaid money and we agreed that I will train any other person that they can find for my replacement. However, since that call, everyone started ignoring me.

I didn’t receive an email, phone call or even a text from any of my co-founders (my friend included). It’s been a month since that phone call and I am really depressed about it. I tried to communicate with my friend but no avail, I feel like they are going to sue me or something.

So in the end I was left empty handed, alone and depressed.

I feel my career has ended and I should really give up this startup thing and try to find something else.



  • When I read these confessions I always try to imagine the “other side” of the story. In your case I see two possibilities: 1. You’re a wimp who should have spoken up when you had the chance and they are glad to be rid of you. 2. They are in big trouble, you’re assessment is correct and they are much more worried about survival than they are about you.

    I would not worry about being sued. The only way to get your money is to keep calling.

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