Home Forums Other discussions Am I still considered a co-founder after a company has renamed?

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #999993
    Mr Software
    Member
    • Total posts: 14

    I co-founded a tech company (let’s call it “Company A”) with a friend and spent 2 years of my life unpaid programming the web app. We launched the website and then it took a long time to get any traction by which time I had run of money so had to quit and get a paying day job. I walked away with a very small amount of ordinary Shares. After I left, my co-founder received Series A funding from a group of investors and is now eyeing Series B.

    But here’s the thing: After I left, the product was renamed along with a new logo, colour-scheme and renamed the underlying company name (let’s call it “Company B”). My business partner is now having articles written about him in the business press where he refers to himself as the sole FOUNDER (not co-founder) of “Company B”. He also claims I can’t refer to myself as the co-founder of “Company B”, only “Company A”. The thing is, I see both things as the same entity as it’s still the majority of my code powering the web app. In my mind it’s all the same, just a different name with a new colour scheme.

    I know you might be thinking “So what?” but I barely saw my family for 2 years while spending every moment coding this website for no pay, so I don’t want to be written out the company history like I never existed.

    Perhaps my business partner is correct and I can’t call myself co-founder of “Company B”, and that’s why I’m here. Is he right?

    #1222224
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 3,141

    I feel for you OP. Only a lawyer could provide advice about the legality of your partner’s position.This is a lesson for all.

    #1222225
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485

    The question is how much of company B do you own, by what you have written above I am guessing zero, as such what right have you to call yourself anything in relation to company B.

    But I would be seeking lawyer advise in regard to the intellectual property transferred from Company A to B. But again that depends on any written agreements at the time of company A formation, and you quitting.

    #1222226
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 3,141

    [USER=53375]@bb1[/USER] makes a very valid point around the proper transfer of IP.

    Another thought I had but definitely am not supplying this as advice…. but if it is important to you to have your contribution recognised, especially in public….

    You could prepare a press release and show your co-founder or even send it depending on lawyer’s advice. The heading, “The Real Story Behind The Formation of (Company Name)….”

    It might give you some leverage to have your contribution more fully recognised. In turn, this could be valuable to you not only for edification but also it could help you gain more projects at higher prices in future.

    #1222227
    RunicConvenience
    Member
    • Total posts: 186

    I would say Company B is right as funding and launching was all done as company B and if most of the site and everything has been redesigned your just someone who was a part of the initial first attempt in history but you are not the founder or co-founder of the company that is.

    unless you can prove any IP in use that is pivotal to the companies success is your work alone. then yeah it just will look like someone who walked away but looking for their “cut” now it has had a small success.

    #1222228
    Dave – FS Concierge
    Moderator
    • Total posts: 2,541

    [USER=19087]@Mr Software[/USER] maybe with a tweak to the terminology you can make a factual statement that your co-founder cannot deny.

    Such as Co-Creator of the “CompanyB” platform.

    That way you can get credit for your technical role in the app/software/platform, the same way an employee can get credit for work in their portfolio or CV, and you don’t have to assert ownership of anything.

    Hope that helps :)
    Dave

    #1222229
    Mr Software
    Member
    • Total posts: 14

    Thank you everyone for the advice. In response:

    • I own 10% of Company B as a regular shareholder.
    • Company B is using my entire code base for the app, only the look of the site was changed. So 95% of the app is still my original code.
    • I like the idea of saying I am the Co-Creator of the “Company B” platform – Thanks Dave.
    • I like the idea of putting out a press release explaining my story and role in the journey – Thanks Paul.
    #1222230
    jayen
    Member
    • Total posts: 23
    Mr Software, post: 268627, member: 19087 wrote:
    • I like the idea of putting out a press release explaining my story and role in the journey – Thanks Paul.

    Since you do own a decent share in the company, you may consider to make the press release sound like you are thankful for the journey, rather than feeling slighted. Any disparaging remarks you make about the founder would be seen by future investors as infighting and would devalue your shares.

    If it were me, I think I would cash out my shares at the next opportunity (maybe now while raising series B) and cut all ties with the founder. And after that, I would find the worst possible time (usually during raising) to tell my story.

    #1222231
    Mr Software
    Member
    • Total posts: 14

    Thank you Jayen. I think writing a positive press release seems the way forward so future investors (hopefully doing their homework) would find the article and discover there was a co-founder. I put so much work into developing this web app that it would be a shame if I was written out the company history. At the end of the day, if it wasn’t for me there would be no product. I’m seeing a plan come together.

    #1222232
    jayen
    Member
    • Total posts: 23
    Mr Software, post: 268707, member: 19087 wrote:
    it would be a shame if I was written out the company historyI don’t disagree that it would be a shame, but the past is the past and we can’t change that. We can only decide what to do with the time we have left. If it were me, spending time on a press release would not be the best use of my time (but I’m also terrible at writing and marketing so YMMV).
    #1222233
    jayen
    Member
    • Total posts: 23

    Side note: I did contribute in an official capacity to an organization before, and after some years I found that I had been removed from history (or at least from the website’s history page that shows past officials). I didn’t know why and I didn’t ask the current officials. I added the history to my LinkedIn and left it at that. Some more years later I worked with one of the then-current officials (it was really just coincidence) and I asked him to reinstate me and he did it the same day. Not that I have ever referred someone to the organization or page, but it definitely felt bad to have been erased, but I chose not to spend time on it.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.