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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Equal Partnerships

I was reading Fred Wilson's post on 50/50 Cofounders just now and caught myself feeling justified in the way that we structured our partnership at WooThemes 3.5 years ago (something which I blogged about here too).

So over at WooThemes, we cofounded a company and decided that the three of us would have equal equity share in the company. We made this decision based on the mantra of "equal share, equal contribution", which at the time probably made more sense compared to today (but only because at that time we were very much DIY and all of us were designing / developing in measurable terms). But to this day, we've managed to apply that mantra in some way and on top of that, we've never had to force a 2 vs 1 decision.

In my time as an entrepreneur, I probably rate this as one of the finest decisions I was ever part of and if I had to go back, I'd want to do the same thing. This decision has allowed us to build a trusting & loyal relationship, which has only really featured a couple of minor niggles in 3.5 years, which is something I think we can be incredibly proud of.

Yes, it has been frustrating at times where opinions have differed and sometimes it does seem that it would've been so much simpler if I could simply make the decision I want to make in my own way. But having to convince my cofounders of the merits thereof, has almost always resulted in a slightly tweaked and better decision.

Most people believe a "partnership to be a sinking ship" and in many cases I'd probably agree. Heck, if I had to do a new startup today, I wouldn't necessarily go for an equal partnership just because it worked before (I believe in using the horses-for-courses mentality). I do however have a massive predisposition to equal partnerships and I truly believe that if you have the right business partners, the pro's far outweigh any possible con's.

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