Instead of finding a technical cofounder, can I just make a "hacker collective?"


I recently had the thought that instead of trying to find a cofounder or two, and promising them inexact amounts of equity (we never hear of 23.61% cofounder equity), I could instead just leverage an entire community of programmers.

For the people accepted into this "collective," they'd get equity according to whatever they contributed to the project. We'd measure this with GitHub, and the ideas would be tracked in a similar way (agreed-upon Excel.)

I also think this would be a really interesting way for a group to work on several projects at once. They'd all have a shared plan/vision for the future, and they'd also understand that equity changes with how much work they actually put in.

When it comes time to get outside investment for one of the projects, we'd treat the collective as a single entity. If say, Paul Graham invests $xx for say, 7% equity, the collective goes to 93% equity (and all shares are obviously lessened in proportion.)

I know accelerators, say, don't like 4+ cofounders, but that's why the collective operates as one entity.

I'm curious, if anyone might see any legal missteps this might entail? Also I'm concerned about what outside investors might think, having a seemingly uncommon way of managing projects and cofounders.

Co-Founder Non Technical

asked Dec 6 '13 at 11:09
13 points

2 Answers


This collective would be better defined as an entity of contractors rather than cofounders. Cofounders are supposed to go above and beyond all others.

I like to think you would still need a dedicated cofounder to bounce ideas and fill knowledge gaps regarding your workforce collective.

As a startup you will have to pivot your idea- in this case pivot your collective. Its tough to do this alone.

answered Dec 9 '13 at 16:53
21 points


What you are referring to is a "grunt fund" - as defined by Mike Moyer in his book, slicing pie. Each participant can be awarded equity based on what they bring to the table - be it funds, expertise, or hourly efforts.

(No affiliation with Moyer - just read his book and find it relevant)

answered Dec 6 '13 at 11:41
Jim Galley
9,952 points

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Co-Founder Non Technical