Founder Blues

I didn’t need to be a genius to see t where things were headed. This week my “partners” canned me. The official reason is “termination without cause,” which is important only because it ensures that I will receive a substantial number of shares (and small amount of cash) in the company, thanks to an accelerated vesting clause that I insisted be a part of the shareholder agreement we all signed.

Kevin Wolf is a founder of Yurkle, a community media site for online services (not sure what that means, but the site hasn’t launched yet). He was fired by his partners and shares his thoughts on lessons learned. Tough situation, I empathize with him but there is only so much that can be done structurally to protect yourself in a partnership that isn’t working. If you are going to raise venture money and have a shareholder agreement that has a lot of protections for the founders built in, well it’s likely to get tossed as part of the new funding event anyway.

Having partners in any business is tough because there are all manner of issues that come into play around trust, communication, control, and open-ness.