Would you consider using Fairsoft 's share vesting system in an early start-up to increase the amount of resources (skilled people) you have access too?
You would be using vested equity (though virtual, whatever that means) instead of cashmoney, to say, get access to a good designer or developer whose skills you could use.
Are there hidden problems that could mess things up down the road?
Has anyone used it to good or bad ends?
I woudn't use it. I'm not going into detail but two areas are obvious:
With this in mind, let's look at some specific problems:
In all these cases, there're additional transaction costs for founder, co-founders and contributors. They basically need to act as VC investors, trying to estimate the chances of success for each company. At the same time, they need to rely on the platform's legal rules and accounting to make sure it works. But who's going to be the judge when conflicts arise?
At the same time, it doesn't provide any real benefit, does it?
The majority of potential contributors is outside the platform -- you can get freelancers for nearly everything you'd need as a software startup. The majority of potential co-founders is also outside of the platform.
Finally, there's the problem of adverse selection : Startups, co-founders, and contributors who do have a good product or make exceptional work, don't need such a platform, I'd guess. This means, those who do use it, are (to some degree) those who have more risky or less convincing products or provide work that's not that exceptional.
I'm sorry if that sounds negative, but you did ask about potential problems. Yet, maybe it helps.
Claus, I think you might be missing the point of what Fairsoftware.net is: Alain R. can correct me, but it's not meant to create a labor exchange based on equity, but be a way of connecting with possible co-founders who have skills, want to buy into an startup via equity, see value in a "lightweight" business formation model and may not want to go the full startup route.
As one of the creators of FairSoftware, here's what we think our solution is good for:
Another answer mentions some potential downsides: we handle expenses a certain way. It could be improved in theory, but it hasn't proven to be a problem yet. We have some ideas to make the system better, but it will add complexity, which is not always a good thing.