I’m graduating this spring and worked the past few years on a beauty product startup. We are attracting angels and beginning to scale, so it looks like we are getting to the good stuff. I am the LLC’s 1st C-suite executive and have been working without comp b/c I’m passionate about beauty products and my friend started it.
I have never asked about equity or comp, and I am graduating into a full-time job (fingers crossed) and won’t be retaining my executive position. But I’m seeing investors say it might be big one day, and I can’t help but feel I deserve something. My friend, the founder, has said on numerous occasions to me that she views me as a founding member and that I’ve been instrumental to getting us to where we are. She also said verbally she wants to grant me equity if it becomes big. And yet she legally retains 100% equity (was the sole owner when I joined), and when I hinted at being involved after graduation in an advisory role, she brushed even that idea off. It should be noted she has never put any of her own money into the company yet (all donation money and debt from family and alumni so far).
I’ve learned many lessons for the next time I attempt entrepreneurship. I know I misplayed my cards. But I’ve also been misled, important for our growth, and was never given the opportunity to get stake or comp. Anyway, given the current reality, how can I attempt a dialogue so that I don’t leave with literally nothing (not even title recognition)? This person is my good friend (even if her actions sometimes make me feel otherwise), so I have hope that if I bring a good argument I can get something. Please don’t be too mean, I already feel awful