Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wanted: Co-founders for a recession-proof business concept

I recently Twittered about the fact that I have a plan for a recession-proof business. I created the plan a couple of years ago, even lined up some killer reference customers, but never had time to put it into effect because of more time-sensitive priorities (Ustream, PBwiki).

My "problem" is that between work, family, and all my other commitments, I don't have time to execute against the business right now, even though with the economy in tatters, now is the perfect time.

Thanks to the enthusiastic responses and curiosity about my tweet, I've decided to run an experiment. I am now seeking co-founders for my recession-proof business.

Here's the deal; once you hear the terms, you can decide for yourself if you want to apply.

1) I'm retaining a 51% stake in the common stock. Fair or not, the company needs to have someone to make final decisions.

2) I want a team of at least two people. I won't have an enormous amount of time to help with the day-to-day, so I want people who can work together as partners and co-founders even when I'm not there.

3) I prefer a local team (SF Bay Area), but I'm willing to consider people who will relocate once the company gains momentum.

4) I've got a soft spot for Harvard MBAs, but you need to have at least one semi-technical person on your team. I can provide some software development help, but you really need a reasonably technical founder.

5) You've got to be willing to raise money. Even thought this is a bootstrappable idea, I'm of the opinion that you should always raise some outside capital to avoid groupthink. It's also the case that my plan for world domination actually uses fundraising as a strategic part of the go-to-market plan.

6) I'm not going to reveal my plan to you without a signed NDA. Sorry, I've got to protect myself. I'll start with my favorite team, and if they don't want to tackle the concept, I'll move on down the line until I either find a team that I like and is enthusiastic, or until I decide to wait until the next recession to start the company.

If you're still interested despite all my warnings, email me at harvardmbastartup@gmail.com with your application and answer the following questions:

a) What are your past entrepreneurial experiences?

b) Who was the best manager you ever had? What made that relationship so effective?

c) How do you like to learn?

Good luck!

7 comments:

Rafael Corrales said...

Chris, this post doesn't make sense to me - why would someone want to start a company where you own 51% off the bat and still would probably have to raise money to grow it?

More importantly, if it was a great idea, you would have dropped everything and started it. So I infer it must not be that good of an idea...

Twitter me back - @rafaelcorrales

Anonymous said...

Is this for serious? 51% for an idea?

I think you'll very easily find applicants matching the quality of this offer.

paul said...

I didn't know you had something to do with Ustream... hum.

Chris said...

Rafael, Anonymous:

Two key points:

1) I will help raise money for the idea. I just don't want to convey the impression that I've already raised it.

2) I had been hanging on to the idea, but I worry that by the time I'm free to use it, the recession will be over. I think it's the best idea I ever had, but I don't want to wait another 7 years before I put it into production.

Chris said...

Oh yeah, it's not just for the idea. I'd help all along the way. I also have a completed PowerPoint and a product spec.

But I don't have the time to pursue it as a primary driver.

Anonymous said...

Terrible deal, and anyone would be a fool for taking it. How many successful startups do you know that stuck to their original idea? It's the team that matters and if you're not fully invested you should get max a couple percent of equity. What happens when the business changes direction a year form now -- after 30% dilution you sit on 35% of the equity with no real interest while your two co-founders have only 17% each even though they are taking all the risks! Incentives would be totally off =).

-Mike

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