Back in August, I posted about how the founders of the biotech start-up company I’ve used for many of my school projects voted to make me a full partner. This turned out to be easier said than done. One difficulty was that they had raised some money through a private placement memorandum. While this let the company function and file patents and such, it also gave the stock a value for purposes like income tax. So it was not a simple matter of just transferring the shares to me. This apparently could have/would have created a tax burden larger than my gross annual income. Thus it was decided that the company would issue me stock options which should not have an adverse impact on me unless I exercised them, at which point, in theory, the stock & the company would have true value. And then I waited, and worked for the company, and waited.
Several months passed during which I took on new responsibilities at my primary job. There was still no sign of these mythical options, a job contract, or a letter of promise that the options would one day come. Nothing. I let the biotech CEO know that, while I trusted his intentions, I could not keep up this schedule on a handshake. On January 1st of this year, I stopped my efforts on the company’s behalf. Great company, great experience but I truly had too many obligations for which I am paid that needed my full attention. Further, all through this period, the company had been actively trying to raise additional funds. Thus, I worried that if they succeeded on a grand scale that I would be cut out by the investors, since I was not really “in” in the first place. I feared that this positive outcome for the company had the potential to turn me into a seething mass of resentment. Given that I have professional relationships (& friendships) outside of the company with some of these individuals I felt that it was truly best to walk away until/unless some formal contract magically appeared. Given that 5 months had already passed without this occurrence, I did not think this event would ever happen.
When I got home from school tonight, sitting in my email in-box, were two documents: a draft stock option agreement and a draft stock option redemption agreement. I need to have my lawyer to be husband look them over. I see at least one problem on my own (i.e the spelling of my name).
Tonight’s Visionary Leadership class was all about creating a vision and envisioning our own lives & dreams 5 years from now. I’d pretty much removed this path (biotech start-up) from my list of possibilities until I saw the very unexpected email. Hmmm.