ANOTHER WAY OF RESOLVING CO-FOUNDER DISPUTES
95% of startups will fail.
With unclear job duties, evolving expectations, different levels of passion and energy, or a breach of trust occurring, co-founders getting resentful or frustrated with each other, threatening the viability of the business.
Mediation can help.
commonly negotiated issues
Startup co-founders that enter into handshake deals assume a 50/50 split is "fair" in the beginning
Over time that 50/50 split might need to change
Restructuring the business equity of the startup doesn't have to be a difficult conversation
"Startup divorce" happens, which makes deciding who gets what a difficult conversation
A negotiated agreement can set up an amicable transition process
Because the mediation process is confidential, you are in control if you want to talk about this or not
Startup co-founders draft up their own operating agreement known as a vesting structure agreement
The "vesting" of shares usually begins after a certain time period
A mechanism can also be negotiated between the founders should a founder want out
MEDIATION CAN HELP
The structured conversation is an expert process for resolving difficult business issues
A negotiated agreement facilitated by a neutral third-party can calm nerves, defuse emotions, and bring clarity and confidence to the situation.
Learn More About Mediation
"Bryant helped me in work out a restructuring agreement for a new partnership agreement with my business partner. It was a hard conversation to have, but Bryant's approach is very personal. He listened to my concerns and walked me through the mediation process for developing solutions together. It was a huge success! And saved me a lot of money and time spent going to attorneys. Thank you!"
- Patrick Courtnage, CEO & Co-Founder, Adventure Flow & SightSeeIt
Either one co-founder or the team schedule a time to talk
Discuss the benefits and suitability of mediation
Get everyone on board for mediation
mediation & CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT
Everyone signs the Mediation & Confidentiality Agreement
$500 deposit paid by the co-founder team
Field any questions or concerns
Mediator meets with everyone individually
Mediator discusses Zone of Potential Agreement
Sessions occur until there is clarity around main issues
Payment for mediation received before the start of process
Half day or full day up to 8 hours
Virtual or in-person
Use a template or create one from scratch
Finalize everything in plain English rather than legalese
Optional (extra charge): use an attorney in my network to review agreement for legality & accuracy
I'm Bryant - a Columbia University-trained Mediator and Negotiator that uses high-stake conflict resolution strategies to help startup founders come to an agreement.
He's worked with small-to-medium size startup that include e-commerce, Ed Tech, health & fitness, software development and transportation tech companies.
He understands firsthand what it's like being a Millennial trying to run a rapidly scaling business. The complexities, the late-nights, and the need for trust in the business partnerships you make.
That's why he takes mediation seriously. Bryant saves you time, energy, and money that could otherwise go to your business, which is where it should be anyway.
How Long does the mediation process take?
This process can take anywhere between 1 Month to 3 Months to complete. More if there are attorneys involved.
Should I go to an attorney first?
That is definitely your right to do. Most attorneys will want to charge you a lot of money just to talk to you.
So You're not an attorney, right?
That is correct. I am not an attorney. I do not offer legal advice nor do I tell you how you should write up an agreement. I merely guide you in having that difficult business conversation and help keep things civil, calm, and productive toward solutions.
Then WHY SHOULD I HIRE YOU THEN?
Because mediation is a non-adversarial process (unlike the courtroom) that can save you time, energy, and money. As a Mediator with experience resolving co-founder issues, a lot of the same problems reoccur in startups and they are usually inter-personal in nature.
Bad blood, lack of trust, and a "winner take all" attitude is what has gotten a lot of startups to the point of breaking up or needed outside support in having these types of talks. A mediator (unlike an attorney) is a trained expert in structuring sensitivebusiness conversations toward win-win solutions.
So what are the benefits of mediation?
There are several:
The process is entirely customized for your problem and voluntary, which means if you don't agree to something you can always walk away & go to that expensive attorney
You get to learn about the real problem and troubleshoot it with an expert third party neutral
The co-founder stay in control of the process and the outcome (unlike in the court)
Less time, money, and energy spent overall
90% success rate of resolution