• Lindsay Spiller

What are Founders and What is a Startup Founders' Agreement?

Updated: Nov 10



Founders are people who have developed a concept for a startup business, have brought necessary expertise to a startup, and are the ones responsible for getting the business going, securing the resources the business needs, and doing whatever is necessary to keep the startup moving forward. When there are multiple Founders of a business startup, a Founders' Agreement is essential to establish a consensus as to the rights and obligations between them and to address any issues that should be resolved before the business is started. Here are examples of issues that should be dealt with in a Founders' Agreement:

  1. Who the Founders are

  2. What their roles and responsibilities are

  3. What their ownership interests are

  4. What their contributions shall be

  5. What intellectual property is to be contributed by the Founders

  6. What, if anything, the Founders have to do to earn or retain their owner interests

  7. What commitments of time, expertise, or energy are expected of the Founders

  8. What the capital structure of the enterprise shall be

  9. What would happen should a to the Founder's ownership interest should a Founder die, become incapacitated, leave the enterprise voluntarily, fail to fulfill commitments to the enterprise, etc.

Aside from the above items, it is important that the Founders also address in the agreement their respective goals and objectives, personally as well as for the enterprise, the core values that will drive the enterprise, the commitments the founders believe they should be making to each other, and the type of business culture they want to develop.


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Lindsay Spiller is the founder of Spiller Law, a San Francisco business, entertainment, and estate planning law practice. Mr. Spiller is a San Francisco business lawyer who serves clients throughout California and particularly in San Francisco and Los Angeles. You may find more information about Spiller Law's business legal services at https://www.spillerlaw.com/business-law.


Disclaimer. Spiller Law Blog Posts are made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide legal advice. By reading the posts, you acknowledge that there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and Lindsay Spiller or Spiller law, and these posts should not be taken a legal advice. You should not act upon this information without seeking advice from a lawyer licensed in your own state or jurisdiction. The blog posts should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state or jurisdiction. Your use of the blog posts is at your own risk. The materials presented herein may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. These materials may be changed, improved, or updated without notice. Lindsay Spiller and Spiller Law is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the content of this site or for damages arising from the use or performance of this site under any circumstances.


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