I have been employed at a research consulting company for several years. During the course of running research projects, I have developed software that I use internally to run some of my projects. The costs of the software have been "bootstrapped" by the projects I lead. The software is owned by my company, although I have managed all aspects of its development.
I see potential for a new piece of software that could be sold externally, and would be based largely on the current software. Because we are a consulting company and not a software company, I think the new software should be created through a new company, with ownership and incentives structured appropriately for a software company rather than a consulting practice. The new company will not happen unless I propose it and lead it.
My own company may be interested in investing in the new company, and I am willing to invest in it, too. My question is, how should the ownership shares in the new company be determined? Should I get some equity simply for having invented the original software and having the vision for the new company? And how do we balance that against cash investments, plus my original company's ownership of the original software?
If the consulting firm 100% owns the software, you could do something like this (this is just one possibility)
Now you're done:
To answer your question, "should I get some equity simply for having invented the original software," the answer is no -- although you invented the original software, since this was done as a work for hire for the consulting company, it is 100% owned by the consulting company.
This is the kind of thing that startup-oriented lawyers do all the time, so you should consult with one.