Founder Agreements & Solving Issues Among Founders: ENET Meeting, Nov. 3, 2015

TOMORROW night, on Tuesday November 3, 2015 at 630pm, the Boston Entrepreneurs’ Network (ENET) will present a panel of three speakers on this subject at the group’s Waltham location: Constant Contact, 1601 Trepalo Rd., 1st Floor, InnoLoft, Waltham, Massachusetts (Exit 28, I-95/Route 128).


So you and your co-founding team want to start a company? Starting a company without carefully considering some important co-founder questions and issues can significantly undermine your company’s chances of success. What questions should you consider when dividing the initial equity? What do you need to do to ensure the company’s ownership of IP? How do you protect your company and your investors if a co-founder stops working or leaves the company?


To answer these questions, our panel will discuss start-up formalization using founder agreements. These agreements define each team member’s roles and responsibilities as they will appear in legal filings. Equity ownership and vesting will be addressed as will the impact of unequal founder initial investment. Another essential aspect of technology start-ups is intellectual property (IP) ownership. Will some of the founders bring IP with them to the new venture? If so, IP ownership and licensing issues must be settled.


These are just a few of the issues our panel of experienced experts will address on November 3rd. You will also have the opportunity to ask your own questions and to network with others who, like yourself, will be start-up founders.




mimiMimi Evans is a financial professional with the Bullfinch Group, the founder and CEO of Fast Turtle Ventures, and the co-founder and CEO of SalesQuest, a marketing intelligence platform that was acquired by OneSource (now Avention) in 2014. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur Mimi served in sales leadership roles for several large technology companies, including IBM, Netscape, and Lotus. In addition to advising clients, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small businesses Mimi serves as a Judge and Mentor for Mass Challenge 2015.


chrisChris Stepanian, President and CEO, Windgap Medical, Inc.

Chris Stepanian is a co-founder of Windgap Medical, Inc. ( ) and has served as President, CEO, and board-member since the Company’s founding. Windgap has developed and is commercializing its patent-pending wet/dry autoinjector platform and proprietary drug formulation to address major deficiencies in the epinephrine autoinjector market, a $1.3 billion dollar opportunity. He has also helped to raise $6.5 million in equity funding from angel, venture, and strategic sources. Windgap’s series A round of investment, just closed, is one of the largest angel/venture co-investment deals in the US this year. He is a long-time entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in operations, finance, strategy, and technology. He has experience in aerospace, automotive, contract-research, industrial materials, and healthcare industries. Previously he was a founding team member of Aspen Aerogels ( ) in Northborough, MA where he contributed to research, operations, and finance. He is a long-time organizer of the Head of the Charles Regatta® and a former board member of Community Rowing, Inc. He has engineering degrees from Rensselaer and Texas A&M along with an MBA from MIT’s Sloan Fellows program.


jackJack M. Swig, Attorney at Law and Counsel at Finance

Mr. Swig’s background and experience span that of senior legal function, private merchant banking, corporate finance and venture capital in diverse roles including lending, bridge financing, and as a venture capital fund manager and in-house counsel in the medical diagnostics, devices and therapeutics sectors. He is well versed in the areas of business and strategic development and corporate alliance.


gregGreg Dawe,

Greg Dawe is ENET’s Vice Chair of Operations and has been working in the software industry for over 30 years, first as an engineer, and later, in management. For over 10 years, he held senior management positions in the computer network security industry including experience with RSA Security, Inc.  Greg specializes in establishing and growing new organizations directly linked to improving company results.


For more information or to register for the November 3, 2015 ENET meeting, go to


Hopefully, these presentations on Founder Agreements and Founder issues will be helpful to entrepreneurs in small and early stage companies I represent. Hope to see you at ENET’s Waltham meeting place, Constant Contact tomorrow night at 630pm!


I helped Greg organize this panel and organized, moderated and spoke at a similar ENET panel on February 3, 2015, “Founder Agreements & Stock Vesting – Building a Team, Protecting Yourself, Managing Expectations”.


If you would like more information on that February 2015 Founders’ panel, go to   At that link you can find the slides of panelist Kartik Shah who dealt in depth with such issues as How do you find a co-founder for your startup company? Who makes a successful and investable core team?


You can view my slides from the February 2015 ENET Founders panel, at

My slides were entitled – “Founder Agreements & Stock Vesting

Building a Team, Protecting Yourself, Managing Expectations”, and deal in some depth with the issue of key protections founders should seek.



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I remain active in ENET, a Waltham and Boston /Cambridge based group that aids entrepreneurs, small and early stage companies, and people who invest or work in those companies. I have been on the ENET Board since 2002, and served as Chairman since 2009, just re-elected in May to my fourth 2-year term as ENET Chair. During the period of my leadership, ENET’s annual program has grown from 10 meetings per year to 19 planned for 2015-16: 10 meetings in Waltham, 4 in Boston, 5 in Kendall Square Cambridge, plus our annual cruise of Boston Harbor to end the program year. Each meeting has three or more speakers on a subject of interest to entrepreneurs and company founders, in life science, tech and other areas of New England’s innovation economy.


On October 6, 2015, I was meeting organizer and moderator for the ENET meeting on “Innovative Ways to Bootstrap Your Startup Company.”   We had three great speakers, a full house in Waltham and great audience questions. To see slides from each of our three ENEt speakers, go to



On September 1, 2015, I was meeting organizer and moderator for the kick-off meeting to ENET’s 25th year. For that meeting in Waltham, our subject was “Giants of the Startup Community, Founders who made it Big, tell what’s Important”.   It was a great evening for ENET where our founders of startup companies heard stories of entrepreneurial challenges, surprises, disappointments, victories and triumphs.


Our Speakers that evening were –

DianeDiane Hessan is a successful entrepreneur, marketer and author. She is currently CEO of Startup Institute,

Startup Institute is dedicated to helping people transform their careers and find jobs they love. Via SI’s programs, people gain the skills, mindset and networks to succeed in the exciting startup world. Since its inception only 2 years ago, over 1,000 students have gone through Startup Institute programs, in Boston, New York, London, Chicago & Berlin.   She is also Chairman of C Space (formerly Communispace), , where she was CEO for 13 years.   A leading customer collaboration agency, Communispace was sold to Omnicom in 2011 and now has over 500 employees, and offices in over a dozen countries. Diane also co-authored the book Customer-Centered Growth: Five Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage, a Business Week best-seller, now published in 11 languages. Diane has received many honors, including the Most Admired CEO award and Boston Power 50 award from the Boston Business Journal, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year (National Finalist).


TonyAnthony DiPaolo is CEO, of Work ‘N Gear, a workwear and healthcare fashion retailer.

Tony is a seasoned entrepreneur and executive with over 30 years of experience in retail, manufacturing, product development, product sourcing and domestic and international sales. His company, Work ‘N Gear, is the largest retail chain in the United States specializing in the work apparel and footwear industry. Work ‘N Gear operates 40 retail stores throughout the Northeast and Midwest. In 1990, Tony acquired Herman Survivors from Stride Rite Corporation and increased sales from $8 million to $50 million before selling the company to Walmart in 2001. In 2002, Tony purchased Work ‘N Gear, which was in bankruptcy.

VenkantVenkat Kolluri is co-founder of Chitika  and has served as President & CEO since the company’s inception.

Venkat oversees all of Chitika’s operations, including its strategic direction and product planning, as well as corporate development. Venkat also co-founded new, local, mobile, advertising company, Cidewalk, which was awarded “Recognition of Positive Impact on the Neighborhood and Local Economy”, by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2015. In 2009, Chitika won the Red Herring award as a Top 100 Global Finalist and in 2010 the DPAC Award as Finalist for Best Mobile Advertising Network Innovation. In 2011, Venkat received from TiE Boston the Crystal Award for a Charter Member who built his company from the ground up. In 2013, Chitika was named among the “Healthiest Employers” and received the Public Private Partnership award from the Westborough EDC. In 2014, named Website Magazine’s “Top 50 Digital Ad Brands to Know”. And in 2015, Venkat was nominated for the ILC Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Award..


To see slides from the September 1 ENET event, go to –


I also arranged ENET’s last meeting of the 2014-2015 program year, our annual Sunset Networking Cruise of Boston Harbor on July 16, 2015. This cruise, our “EntrepreneurShip 2015” was also be joined by our partners MDG – Medical Development Group, IEEE Women In Engineering (WIE) and the EntreTech Forum. This was the 13th ENET summer networking cruise that I’ve arranged. 151 attended on a lovely evening with good food and company and great views of the sights of Boston Harbor and even Boston Light at the outer edge of the Harbor.



Also during the now ending 2014 – 2015 ENET program year, I organized and moderated three ENET meetings.


  • April 21, 2015 – Building and Using Board of Directors and Boards of Advisors , that featured Jack Derby, Jean Hammond and Travis Conners (substitute for Jay Habegger who was called away on a family matter).


  • February 3, 2015 – Founder Agreements and Stock Vesting – Building a Team, Protecting yourself, Managing expectations, , that featured Kartik Shah, Gail Hoffman, and me as third speaker (to substitute for Harry Glorikian who was called away for last minute Board meeting), with my co-organizer Stacey Arbetter as moderator.


  • September 2, 2014 – “Entrepreneur Success Stories”, which featured successful entrepreneurs from different fields – high tech, consumer and life sciences. The three presentations for this 2014-2015 kickoff meeting were taped and you can view the tapes if you wish on the links below.


Additionally, in prior years, I’ve moderated and/or spoken at a number of ENET panel presentations, including presentations on the following subjects:

  • “Raising Money from CrowdFunding , May 2014 (moderator),
  • Co-Founders and Core Team – finding them, protecting yourself, managing expectations”. February 2014 (moderator & speaker)
  • “Ready, Set, Launch. Knowing when you’re ready & How to start a company” , September 2013 (moderator),
  • Online Finance and Crowd Funding , April 2013 (moderator),
  • Bootstrapping 101: Alternative Ways to fund a Startup without an Angel or VC, November 2012 (moderator)
  • Seed and Angel Financing , October 2012 (moderator),
  • Getting Stuff for Free, April 2012 (moderator),
  • Transforming Your Idea into a Successful Company, September 2011 (speaker and moderator),
  • Get Going! Launching a Successful Business, September 2010 (moderator),
  • Licensing Technology, February 2010 (moderator),
  • How to Select and Retain Management for your Startup Company, February 8, 2008 (speaker and moderator)
  • Getting Initial Money to go from Nothing to Something, October 2007 (speaker and moderator)
  • Strategic Alliances and Partnerships: to build, finance, and develop early stage companies, November 2006 (speaker and moderator)
  • Building Boards of Advisors and Boards of Directors, March 2006 (moderator)
  • Protecting Your Intellectual Property, January 2006 (speaker)