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Tech Debate: "Equity vs. Salary for co-Founders"

A couple of weeks ago one of our star members, a certain Kwesi Johnson from, put out a call to the group looking for a CTO co-founder for his startup and offering equity rather than salary for the role. Nothing wrong with that and pretty much a founding reason for our group to exist. However, this sparked off a really interesting email debate on the pros and cons of equity vs. salary for co-founders.

Clearly there is a big demand for more knowledge and discussion on this hot topic and so we have decided to bring this to the real world and have organised a live public debating forum with key industry speakers leading various sides of the argument and where all attendees will get a chance to put their say and views across.

More details to follow...

Of course, we will have our usual networking afterwards with FREE food and drinks.

We look forward to seeing you there and having a good ol' ding dong verbal match over the whys and wherefores and pros and cons of this sometimes divisive debate.

Robert, Calypso and Joaquim

PS - If you have really strong views on this subject and want to be one of the main speakers, please email [masked] with a brief summary of what you would like to say and we will make sure you get heard. We may even add you to the main speakers list.

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    • Robert F.

      Nice piece. Enjoyed reading it. And thanks for the feedback. :)

      November 3, 2013

  • Aaron

    Missed this one, would have been good for me as i just added a post today looking for a developer

    October 28, 2013

  • Jonathon H.

    After Wednesday's meetup, I wrote this post in the forum:

    You're an entrepreneur looking for a developer? Here's how:

    October 18, 2013

    • Maulik

      and I just replied to it with some of my experiences

      October 18, 2013

  • Dil G.

    Going over what I heard at the session, I have clarified my own conclusions, as follows:

    1 - 50% (or 60% or 40%) of no market value is nothing.

    2 - Most ideas come to nothing.

    3 - If an idea is of the 'make a good living' type, then percentages matter more than if it is of the 'infinitely scalable' type. One percent of a billion is lots!

    4 - People's attitudes to startups are likely to change over time. In particular, if something looks as if it will be a big success, then the percentages will begin to be important - it's too late then to have a relaxed conversation about details. Stress in such conversations at a cusp in the development of the business is dangerous.
    THEREFORE: have early, detailed conversations about the agreement - consider some likely scenarios, make sure all involved are happy with the implications of the agreement in those scenarios. Given 1 & 2 above, this conversation should be relaxed.
    Write the agreement down, sign it, put it away and get on with the job.

    October 18, 2013

  • Mark W.

    Unfortunately I missed the event, but have enjoyed reading the conversations below. Will definitely make the next one. I read the strategy letter that Dil Green posted a link to. I guess this would link up well with the topics last night. I have gone through a similar process in finding a iOS programmer where I have offered a hybrid deal of equity and salary so that I can recruit quickly and get the attention I need. The link emphasises that you need to pick whether you want to grow quickly, to make it difficult for competition to catch up; or grow slowly, but with a long term strategy. The post is 13 years old, so I think the world has changed a little, in that you can change gears. You can start a business on a credit card, but because internet ideas are so scalable, you can take your time to make sure the idea is right before you go on a full blown-out campaign to try to get the whole world to download you app, for instance... at least I hope...

    October 17, 2013

  • Jonathon H.

    I noticed that probably more than half the attendees were from overseas. Does this mean that people who move internationally are more entrepreneurial?

    1 · October 17, 2013

    • yadu t.

      entrepreneurship is a personality type and has less to do with migration. the fact that one migrates does not mean one is more inclined to be an entrepreneur. btw, is it just me or is everyone an entrepreneur these days? it seems to have become a label to tag on now.

      October 17, 2013

    • Mark W.

      I think you also have to factor in the city where the meet up took place. it is probably going to be easier to kick start an idea in London than a lot of other places in Europe.

      October 17, 2013

  • Dil G.

    Thanks everyone for an interesting, informative and thought provoking evening.
    Although he no longer blogs (making some of the examples seem more historical than contemporary), I believe that Joel Spolsky's tech/entrepreneurial blog has much of value, and seeing as some people I spoke to hadn't heard of it, here's a link to one post which seems relevant to last night's topic.
    Do have a browse through the rest, though - he writes entertainingly, and has strong, clear views.
    Looking forward to continuing conversations at future events!

    October 17, 2013

  • Kevin

    Very good meet up met some interesting people and some nice connections

    1 · October 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Plenty of food for thought and interaction in equal measure. Glad I finally made it to my first D&E event: will be back for more!

    1 · October 17, 2013

  • José B.

    Great event and I enjoyed so much our experience at Pickevent. As we are launching in a couple of weeks, visit and if you leave you register we'll keep you tuned ;)

    October 17, 2013

    • José B.

      Apologies for the typing:-) I wanted to say that I enjoyed sharing our experience with you and if you register, we'll keep you up to date about the best events in London and about our coming launch. Best wishes to all

      October 17, 2013

  • Diego G.

    Nice friendly open group talk

    1 · October 17, 2013

  • Sondra P.

    Great group, well managed, excellent topic and they were very receptive to an out of town newcomer (me!). I would highly recommend this meetup for Londoners.

    1 · October 16, 2013

  • Kevin

    Looking forward to meet up

    October 16, 2013

  • Sondra P.

    Guest: Toby Aldridge

    October 14, 2013

  • Jean-Bernard T.

    Excellent discussion I am happy to attend

    1 · October 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sadly I won't be able to make this meeting as I won't be in London but hope to attend the next meeting you have. I think it will be a very interesting discussion and wish I could be there. Cheers Pete

    October 10, 2013

    • Robert F.

      That's a shame Pete, but don't worry, we have plenty more interesting events in the pipeline so we look forward to seeing you at a few if not all of those. :)

      October 11, 2013

  • U-2-Me

    Hi Guys, is the Tech Debate: "Equity vs. Salary for co-Founders" a free event and is there any additional registration required? If so where?



    October 5, 2013

    • Robert F.

      Hi Anthony,

      AS with most of our events, this is COMPLETELY FREE. Simply RSVP 'YES' on this page and turn up to the venue on the date specified above and you're in! ;)

      We will even provide FREE food and drinks! See you then/there.

      October 5, 2013

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