Dear SaaStr: Should Co-Founders Issue Themselves 100% Vested Shares at Founding, Or Vest Over 4 Years?
There are fewer bigger mistakes you can make as a founder than not having 4+ vesting. Ideally, 6-7 years or even a decade. At least, longer than 4 years if you can.
Because vesting protects the most committed founders from the least committed founders. That’s what it really does.
There’s nothing that can bring you down more than having say 4 co-founders … and one leaves after say 6 months, another in 12 … and then having the other 2 stay and give their heart and soul for 10+ years … and everyone makes the same, or close to it.
It hangs over your head. It’s demotivating. It eats at you.
Things need to be fair among founders.
A good, thoughtful founder vesting schedule makes sure things are. Very effectively.
You may think no vesting, or short vesting, protects you against VCs, or M&A, etc. It actually doesn’t do any of that — if you stay.