Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2013

Slicing Pie with a Razor: Ockham Technologies' Founding Agreement

by Noam Wasserman and Yael Braid

Abstract

Ockham Technologies' three founders are about to craft their founding agreement and split the equity among themselves. Uncertainty lingers over each member's future contributions, though—how is the team to devise a durable and effective split? Jim Triandiflou and Ken Burows worked resolutely to plan for the launch of their sales management software company. Soon they recruited a third member, Mike Meisenheimer, to lead product development. Each founder had contributed significantly to bringing the Ockham concept to life. The trio had provided the seed capital of $150,000, contracted a development team to build their product, garnered serious interest from a potential investor, and readily agreed on their roles within the company (Jim was CEO, Ken was COO, and Mike was Head of Product Management). But as Ockham entered its initial phase of product development, pressure began mounting for the team to discuss and finalize a founding agreement. What should they include in the agreement, and how should they structure their equity split?

Keywords: Technology; Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Conflict Management; Governing and Advisory Boards; Employees; Management Teams; Product Development; Technology Industry;

Citation:

Wasserman, Noam, and Yael Braid. "Slicing Pie with a Razor: Ockham Technologies' Founding Agreement." Harvard Business School Case 814-017, July 2013.