I’d appreciate getting feedback from the community on how best to structure partnership agreements that takes into consideration some challenging issues.
I'm currently bootstrapping a SaaS venture and have invested eight months of full-time effort and tens of thousands of dollars. I know I will need to raise a seed round to launch commercially. In anticipation of that I've been working on developing a strong team and have found three potential partners who I’d like to move forward on partnership contracts with.
They all are sole wage earners for their families with full-time jobs and can’t join the venture full-time until they get paid a nearly market-rate salary. In our trail period working together it is clear they can provide good guidance, but not a lot of work. This will not change until we raise enough money to bring them on board, which could take 4-6 months.
How should I structure the agreement to deal with this indeterminate time period when they provide value, but won’t fit well into a stable option vesting schedule as a full-time employee? If I tell them they don’t get anything until we receive funding they may lose interest in the venture and without a team I’m dead in the water with investors. Your thoughts?