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Monday
Oct042010

Dividing Ownership in a Group Project

This post contains suggestions on how to effectively divide ownership in a group project - prior to taking on the burden of launching and operating a legal corporation.
 
The tasks within this post may seem like a lot of work.  However the process described below is essential to building a motivated organization…regardless of the legal structure (and legal minds) you employ.
 
If you are working with equals that you know and trust, the group should be able to read this document, negotiate the items on the ownership earn-in spreadsheet, and then construct a signed letter of intent in under three hours; it doesn’t get much easier than that.
 
Fictional scenario:  a group of professionals are about to create and promote a new media website that will attract and entertain a slice of humanity; as visitors come to this website, the business goals will be to convert visitors into fans (subscribers and repeat visitors), and then to eventually sell something that has perceived value to a percentage of the fan base. 
 
Everyone involved desires to protect their investment (time, money, art, etc.) and to preserve their ownership rights until the day arrives when the group decides to turn the project into a real company.  The following is a list of people involved in the (fictional) project and a brief description of the assets that each person proposes to contribute to the project:

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