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How Do You Decide to Plunge Into a Startup?

Mitch Jackson
just another perl hacker
・2 min read

I'm confident in the product. What other factors should I consider before giving significant time and resources into a startup as a minority owner with a majority share of the software/hardware development?

That familiar place we all arrive at as developers: Let's make a business out of this! It is often an educational time sink. You learn just how reliably yourself and your friends will work without pay to chase a dream.

I'm facing this question again! My friend, the CEO of a long-standing non-profit, made a software wish while we played board games on Thanksgiving. Hold my beer... Several months later, as a volunteer, I've rewritten large parts of their infrastructure, built and integrated custom hardware deployments based on small board computers, and provided whiz-bang new features that were a first for their market. There was much rejoicing. I sacrificed into my day-job billable hours more than I want to admit to make this happen.

Now somebody else in the same space wants the same capability, and they're shopping vendors.

The product is not just a website. There is hardware/software integration. Significant business integration. As well as live event support. Somebody would have to travel several countries supporting installations and providing training. That person would NOT be me.

Everybody involved in the company would be working in "side-job" capacity. There's not enough money in the beginning to support full time employees.

What factors would YOU consider before deciding to join with such a company? What steps would you make early, as the business is structured, to realize both success and a good financial position?

Discussion (2)

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Ben Halpern

I'd ensure everybody is realistic and on a vesting schedule from the beginning. If you have not been working with these people in a strong professional capacity for a while, I'd say this is a must.

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Mitch Jackson Author

I had to google Vesting Schedule - Thanks for the good advice!

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