I back into the answer.
To me, it’s very important than the founders, by the time of IPO (or exit), together own at least 20%. Or “double digits each” as I think about it. The more, the better. But at least >=10% each (assuming 2 co-founders, equal ownership) after as many rounds as it takes to hit a liquidity event.
If I think the founders will be so diluted, by so many rounds, that they’ll end up in the single digits each — I’m out. Or at least, we need to restructure the company with top-up grants to get them there. ‘Cuz I just don’t believe it’s sufficient motivation. And also, I don’t want founders feeling like they work for The Man.
That doesn’t mean the founders need to own >= 50%. We can’t all be Atlassian. But in an ideal world, they would own the majority of the company at least when I invest.
A little more here: https://www.saastr.com/the