Breaking Up With Co-Founders

sreejitadeb's profile thumbnail
Hi Daphne, I found myself acknowledging that my cofounder and I were not a fit a few months after raising our first round of funding. It was a tough decision but I asked him to move on in the interest of maintaining a healthier work environment. Happy to chat 1:1. A few things that worked:1. Clear communication to our investors and board members on why we were parting ways.2. A clear transition plan for our colleagues on who would be taking over the departing founders responsibilities and the time we had to make this transition. 3. Offer to be a reference. 4. I didn’t have to deal with stock re-allocation/ buying his share out. Our Lawyers advised us to have a founders agreement when we were closing our first round of funding. In retrospect following that advice saved us from a situation that could have been messier.
KateCarney's profile thumbnail
I have seen it a few times as a lawyer and as a coach. It's a difficult time with lots of questions on the table and emotions. Happy to have a conversation.
Judith's profile thumbnail
Went through that with my former partners, and also have worked with a lot of start-ups that broke up over time. Happy to answer any questions.But the biggest overarching recommendations I have is be honest but not mean, and document all decisions in writing.
HannahDrain's profile thumbnail
A framework we like to use is: Stock, Story, and Status. Stock: What will they get for the work that they have done up to this point?Story: What will you tell the company? The public? Status: Who are they to the company moving forward? In one case, we worked with a Founder that started the company but wasn't the best person to get it to the next level and his co-founders wanted him out. So, we have him the stock that he had vested plus an extra 1%, told him that he could own the story (that he had taken the company as far as he could and it was time to let the rest of the team take over), and we gave him the status of Founder Emeritus). It was an incredibly hard conversation, but by being honest, thoughtful, and creating a deal that works for all parties, it also had a happy ending.