I want to hear some opinions about my situation. Initial:

  • Im the initiator of a startup idea
  • Investor brings up his employee as Teammeber
  • Investor splitted his proportion half for the employee
  • I work only on the startup, 50-60 hours a week
  • I get a small amount of money from each for half a year
  • There is no contract atm, but the investor will pay everything needed

The Teammember brings no performance. The real working time is under 10 hours for the whole time. I thought about cut him 15% for me or throw him out, but dont want to get in to a dispute, since i think i need him later, but everything tooks longer and more risky for me. What would you do in a situation like this?

  • Some questions: If the team member is contributing 10 hours in total and you are contributing 50-60 hours per week, then why is that team member is still there? The investor split what? Ownership? So the 'team member' is actually an equity owner in the business (meaning removing him is quite difficult)?
    – earthling
    Jan 31, 2014 at 9:27
  • There is no contract atm. Yes he splits the ownership. Removing him is a option. But the investor thinks he has good ideas for future projects, and good technical skills. He have some good skills i need, if the software has a good stand, but cant show them because he dont want to or has no time. I already talked to him, he said he knew the "performance problem", and he will take more time. 3 weeks and nothing happened.
    – Kandi
    Jan 31, 2014 at 10:10
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    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Feb 1, 2014 at 0:51
  • @CodeGnome, there is a Exchange i asked a question like this but cant find it anymore. What is the best place for this? But also it goes to motivation and teamwork, its not totally off.
    – Kandi
    Feb 1, 2014 at 7:35
  • answers.onstartups.com was shutdown, but the content can now be found on BrightJourney.
    – jmort253
    Feb 15, 2014 at 3:29

1 Answer 1


The problem is clearly that you do not have a clear agreement with the investor. All of the terms of the agreement (at least the most important ones) should be clearly lined out in a contract ASAP.

If you have someone on the team who does not contribute enough, then you need to see if you can resolve that with the person. If not, you need to find a way to remove that person from the team.

I saw a similar situation where an equity holder was part of the project to bring a product live. This was the first product so it was the foundation of the company. At any rate, the equity-holding member was a problem. Nice, but causing too many problems for others. They had to vote to remove him from the team. He could keep his shares but he would not be paid for his work going forward.

As you cam imagine, assuming you also hold equity, this is not ideal because the equity was given in the expectation of performance but you did not hire the team member and it sounds like you did not give up any of your equity. So, it is not really your issue to resolve. That said, if you can find a way to get the team member to perform, through sincere conversation, it would be better for everyone...especially if he has some skills you know you will need later.

Conversation must be the key here. You must find out why the member is not contributing more but you cannot force someone to be motivated, they have to want it. So, try to find out what will motivate them. I find that most people can answer the question "What motivates you?"

  • 1
    I have to agree with earthling here. I've made the same mistake - I've gone into a project with friends and we all had the same vision and we got along, so who needs contracts. There are a lot of details that you don't lay out otherwise. The longer you wait to discuss expectations with each other, the more contentious it'll be when you're finally forced to, so have the conversations while you all still like each other.
    – Daniel
    Jan 31, 2014 at 22:05
  • Thx for the responses. The problem is that everything tooks longer, since i have to do everything. I will communicate and set up a list, that shows who is making what.
    – Kandi
    Feb 1, 2014 at 7:43

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