I am currently working at an online marketing company as a software developer. A few months ago I started my own software company (sole proprietorship, eenmanszaak in Dutch). I am still studying and I am 18 years old, so I am not very experienced when it comes to entrepreneurship. Soon after I started my company, my bosses came with the idea to work together for a new project, with me as a company instead of an employee.
We want to create an online service with tools for webshops. I can't really go into any of the details, but it involves a lot of programming and some infrastructure design. The company I work for is run by my two employers and is quite small (~10 employees, mostly students like me). My employers don't really have any deep technical knowledge, they know how to run webshops and use their computer, but they can't code or configure servers. The way they want the partnership between my company and theirs is as follows:
- I will create the project during my working hours and get paid for them
- They will cover all costs
- They already have a few customers who are interested in using it once it is done
- When the project reaches a certain turnover (the exact amount is still open for discussion), they create a new company (a general partnership, or VoF in Dutch) in which I can join in as a co-owner any time I want.
The thing that bothers me is that when that new company is created, I would only get 33% ownership, just like my two employers. In my opinion this doesn't feel right for the following reasons:
- Although they also had some input in what the service should be capable of, I am the one who thought of how it should be executed and the only one of us three with the knowledge to actually build it.
- Since it is a partnership between our companies, I don't see why the ownership is suddenly split between persons instead of our companies. I would reason that if we split it evenly, that would mean that my company gets 50% and their company gets 50% as well. Also, all the brainstorming that has been done untill now was only with one of my employers, the other one has had close to zero input till now.
Although I realise it is nice that I get the opportunity to build a big project without having to take any risks or having any costs, it really bothers me that if it turns out to be a success I only end up with 33% ownership, even though I created the entire service.
If I had the choice, I would get 50% ownership, if not more. Is this reasonable to ask, or are my employers right when they say it is fair to give everyone 33%?