A founders agreement establishes the roles and responsibilities of the founding team, capital
ownership, and intellectual property ownership.
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A founders agreement is an official contract or a legal agreement executed between the co-founders of the company while setting up a business. This agreement elucidates the roles, rights and duties, responsibilities, ownership, liabilities, and investment proportion of each founder.
The objective of the founders agreement is to avoid disputes regarding business, which may arise over time between co-founders. This agreement apparently set out the strategy of the founders, who should act within the ambit and should follow the mandatory provisions laid on.
Founders agreements also help in tackling uncertain occurrences like the death of the co-founder, resignation, which directly affects the sustained growth and smooth running of the business or firm.
The founders agreement will clearly mention the nature and type of entity that should be established by the co-founders, thereby setting the proper path to be followed.
This agreement describes the vision and mission of the entity and sets the short term and long term goals to be achieved over a period of time.
Obviously, there will be overlapping roles and functions between co-founders without having a proper framework of the assigned roles. Therefore, it is important to designate the roles and responsibilities of the co-founders, in accordance with their area of mastery like marketing, operations, finance, etc.
The founders agreement will clearly specify the structure of ownership pertaining to the initial contribution made by the cofounder or the percentage of the equity shares held by the cofounder in case of a company, thereby avoiding any future conflicts in between them.
At a certain point in time, there will be an ideological conflict between co-founders, So these conflicts are to be handled through the proper decision-making process. Here the founders agreement will formulate a procedure to be followed during the decision making process. If the voting system is adopted, then it should define the value of votes for each founder and provide a solution in case of a deadlock situation.
This agreement laid down the scheme of compensation to be carried out, if anyone of the cofounder has violated the provisions mandated. Here, the proportion of the compensation to be made will be mentioned for every cofounder.
Any co-founder can be evicted from the company for indulging in fraudulent activities like misappropriation of funds, sexual harassment, and getting employed with other organisations. This agreement ensures a proper structure on how to deal with these situations and sorting out appropriate funds to be reverted to the expelled co-founder.
There was a separate clause on confidentiality in the founders agreement, which makes an obligation for founders to not reveal the secrets of the business.
The procedure for drafting the founders agreement involves the following steps: