I'm the founder of a mHealth start up based in Florida and am looking for a programmer with a vested interest in our product but can only offer equity. What are some of the best sites/platforms to find potential partners wanting equity?

There are sites out there to find cofounders, but as others have already rightly said, you are extremely unlikely to find anyone good that's willing to do it for equity only. Not even with a good story I'd argue and if they were capable of doing it, they would do it themselves and control all the equity.

Anyone accepting of your offer will do so because they don't have a better option. After all, on day zero of your startup, with the best will in the world, you have a zero valued company.

in the USA, you are competing with companies willing to pay good talent $130K a year or more. That is what it has to be worth day 0. The day they join your startup. They have bills to pay after all, so certainly can't do it for nothing.

It gets more compelling if you have already made sales and you're on a growth curve. If you have proven your company has raked in about $130K in non-debt revenue in the previous year. This proves market viability and your worth as a salesperson/marketer, as that is the skill CTO and tech founders often lack and want in cofounders. You yourself are going after people who are proven, yet your skill and idea is yet to be proven to them. They're banking on you to bring in the beans whilst they deliver and to be blunt, you're already in the back foot position of proving you don't value them enough to pay anything. Remember, your company at this stage is worth zero actual dollars. Hence, their equity is zero actual dollars.

90% of startups fail within 2 years, so the Value at Risk for them, as an investor of technical skill (not money) is 2 * $130K * 0.9 = 234,000 for that period of time, which is ridiculously high risk for someone who isn't a billionaire already. Good people sadly, won't touch you with a barge pole. I've been there before and I certainly won't do it again.

Either way, work up to it and I wish you luck in your venture.

Answered 5 years ago

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