Posted by Anonymous on 2012-08-20
I'm currently involved as a mentor in a start-up. My role is to give general guidance, answer questions, typical mentor stuff...
The start-up I'm advising had a very nonrefundable company when I first got involved. Early feedback from a number of folks supported this quite strongly. The team is technically sharp, overall quite smart, but very inexperienced, which is understandable since they're just out of college. I've gotten a lot more involved then what I expected - to the point where I completely recreated a product vision and road map for the team, which is completely different than their original vision.
The feedback from the new product vision has been extremely strong both from many potential customers as well as very senior people from the industry. It is very disruptive to a massive industry and has the potential to be extremely viral. Much more work to be done, but many positive signs so far. There's a significant amount of work ahead for the company but everyone is getting very excited, including myself.
I'm basically setting the course, mapping out the game plan, creating the near term tactics that need to be taken, helping with the pitch, you name it. I'm also driving the look and feel of the product. Only thing i'm not involved with is writing code. I love doing this, but I don't think this level of effort should be for free.
The question I have is whether it's reasonable to expect an equity stake in the company, and how much for the significant positive change that I've created for the company, and the much needed continued support and experience that the company will continue to demand, which I will provide.
Granted the company has a very long way to go, but it would be very tough to see the company become a great success (best case) and I get a thank you at the end of it, while others get a return from their equity stakes.
I understand that most start-ups fail and worrying about If the company is successful may not be practical. However, I know what direction this company was going and know the impact i'm having and know my continued involvement will greatly increase their probability of funding and success.
Any advice is greatly appreciated!PRIVATE: Members Only