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Working with Startups and to engage with them

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Dean asked me how I think about working with early-stage companies. This is a great question because there is a long way distance between being a full-time employee and having a coffee with a CEO. So here are the different stages you can think about engaging with a startup depending on your financial motivation. Is it to get cash or get equity upside:

  1. If it is for the cash and so forth, then yes, getting a consulting contract and doing a few days a week makes sense and getting some options too.
  2. You can do the part-time employee thing if you like, but it means signing more agreements, this is good if you want to get healthcare from the entity (unless you have another vehicle for this).
  3. If it is really coaching and so forth that you want to do, then you can become an advisor which is the loosest form, you typically sign an NDA and an IP agreement and there is stock but no cash out of things like that and no set hours.
  4. Finally, there is joining their board which is putting your stamp of approval on it and will be used for them to fundraise, etc. This typically is an equity-only thing but has no set hours or expectations.

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