Here's my situation. I founded a company very recently (currently an LLC) and have no external funding. I also don't have deep pockets. This is for a startup in the US in Washington state. I declared the initial value of my LLC at 10,000 initially at $.01 per share for 1 Million shares in all. Note the 10,000$ that i declared was mostly IP and prior work and not 10,000 in cash.
I took on an intern to do some work on an unpaid basis for a short time frame. Now I'd like to bring him on board (i.e have him work part time while he finishes school) under an equity only arrangement until I manage to land funding to pay salaries. Here are the broad terms i am considering
The one glitch here is that he needs a fair amount of mentoring (help with debugging etc) and that seems to blur the traditional distinction between employee and contractor.
I need an arrangement like this until I can get funding to pay salaries. To be conservative I project that to take about a year.
I am looking for pointers on
Take a look at the book slicing pie - which describes a "moral contact" to assign equity based on hours contributed that can be converted into a more standard equity plan when the future requires it. Whether or not it can be used as a legal contract depends on how you use it.
Having a vesting schedule associated with an equity only salary doesn't seem to be a good idea for the employee - s/he is working, and you are paying them in futures that have additional stipulations. Example: how would you like to work and be told that you earned x but cannot cash it until 3 years out?
In my opinion, the value of the equity is too little to justify a complex setup like this. Legal costs in case of a dispute or just formalizing things well easily exceed the value. Say you transfer 32% of the equity to him/her, current market value according to your estimate is USD 3.200. There is maybe an upside but also a downside to equity, reducing value to 0, so discussions about how much it might become worth is irrelevant, especially since the current IP is worth so little; it is easy to start a copy cat. USD 3.200 covers only for maybe 160 or 320 hours of work at a reasonable labor rate in an industrialized country.
My advice is to offer a minimum salary and limited terms, with in the contract a bonus; when business volume exceeds xyz in year, the salary will be increased to abc.