I'm trying to figure out what my role is...
Late last year (October/November) I was asked by an acquaintance If I'd be keen to help develop a SaaS product that he & his brother had designed.
At that point, Brother 1 & Brother 2 had been designing the solution for some time, & had settled on most of the core functionality. The system required a native iOS app, a server running a web app & database, & synchronisation between the 2 apps. B1 had already started on a prototype iOS app.
Initially my role was to help develop the iOS app, but in December my task was switched to creating the entire server-side (web app, database, & synchronisation), which I've been building since (8-12 hours a day, & most weekends mind you! Not that I mind, I'm really excited about the product!).
Now we have a MVP in the wild, & it looks like we'll have our first paying customers soon (they're trialling it now). All work so far has been unpaid & no renumeration has been formalised (just verbal "we'll pay you cash when we turn a profit, equity until then"). I'm now about to insist that a formal structure is defined so I know what I'm working for, it's long overdue. Not just for my sake - I think it's important that we're all on the same page & none of us have false ideas.
Am I a co-founder? I'm unsure of the exact nomenclature. Clearly B1 & B2 are co-founders, but does the fact that I worked for sweat-equity, developing the core product at my own risk make me a co-founder, or just a post-paid employee? In either case, is it too brash for me to suggest something akin to Joels method as a benchmark?
I don't have a burning desire for the label per se, I just want to be fair in my approach, so I want to be sure I'm not under or over selling my part in the team. I'd like to go into the discussion with a realistic expectations. It's important to state that I highly value the team & love my work here, I'm certainly not trying to milk every penny, but I do want my efforts to be reflected, & my role/renumeration will play a large part in my sense of participation & therefore enthusiasm.
What do you think?