What should you do if you are having trouble with a co-founder? Usually founders begin a venture with high hopes and a good working relationship, but just like in any relationship, there is always the chance that things may go awry. If you are finding yourself in that situation, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1) Dissent amongst founders is one of the most common reasons that startups fail, and it will send investors running for the hills. If you are having problems with a co-founder, the best thing for your company is to address the issue head-on, immediately.
2) If you want to get rid of a co-founder, make sure that you can. Check your founding documents, including founders’ agreements, equity documents and bylaws to make sure that you have the authority and the power to remove him or her. If you are not sure what this means, ask your attorney.
3) Get important people on board. Your other founders, advisors and major shareholders will need to know what is going on, and getting their agreement will smooth the process.
4) Be nice. Breakups aren’t easy, but you can make the transition smoother by being respectful, recognizing the founder’s contributions to the company, and offering to help them with recommendations or introducing them to people in your space. If your company can afford it, consider accelerating his or her vesting and/or offering severance. The startup space is small, and you never know when you may need this person again. It’s worth it to end things on good terms.