Starting a new company requires inspiring early co-founders to join you in your efforts and then quickly establishing an environment of trust where everyone works hard and fairly shares the upside of any success.
To that end, we launched the Founder’s Collaboration Agreement which is designed for a newly formed team to agree on what each founder’s shareholding should be as well as how to make sure that each founder puts a continued effort throughout the lifetime of the company in order to keep their equity stake.
The hope is that this document will not only help events such as hackatons, where collaboration amongst team members is key, but also any ‘back of a napkin at a cafeteria’ brainstormed startups where people put a lot of sweat equity in even before they think about forming a ‘formal’ company.
The Founder Collaboration Agreement is suitable for use between two or more individuals that have agreed to work together in order to develop a business concept and/or technology. The agreement envisages that each individual shall be a co-founder of a newly incorporated company and sets out how the share capital of that company will be split. The agreement also includes share vesting provisions to cover a situation if a founder leaves the company during the vesting period. Importantly, the agreement also obliges each co-founder to transfer any and all intellectual property that has been developed as part of the collaboration to the company.
How to Use
Treat this doc as a starting point for discussion. Yes, feel free to use it as-is, as we believe it covers 80% of what you should consider, but feel free to modify it as you and your founding team need to.
The items in brackets [ ] are to either be filled in or amended as you see fit.
Following demand from founders in the region, we are delighted to also release a version of the Founder Collaboration Agreement for use by Hong Kong based founders. See the link on the right hand side to access the document.