Start Up Funding - When they Bring in New Leadership and Refuse Market Rate Salaries
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Start Up Funding - When they Bring in New Leadership and Refuse Market Rate Salaries

Before the pandemic I was asked to help out the owners of my current employer (been there 3 years) by doing the ground work on a "startup" idea. I was verbally offered a small percentage of the owners profit when they sell.

On uncontracted secondment I built everything from the business model contracting the suppliers, web design, bespoke CRM, etc except for the marketing which was handled by one owners son. (Who has another fulltime job) but didn't understand SEO or how the product works...

Fast forward and I'm the only person now working in this start up fulltime + essentially all hours, the industry is hot and the model is solid. I've put together a pitch, with 5 year business plan linked to financial statements modelled off low sales. Essentially ready to get series A or B funding.

For this I did extensive research on all costs and discovered what market rate salaries should be for all roles over 5 years. Also recruited a senior team ready to work on spec based on roles. I'm ready to send off the pitch (I know some VC, Family Offices and IB people who want to invest).

Eveything was looking rosey until part of creating a due diligence pack is that everyone employed in the business needs to be contracted to the business. Suddenly everything gets wierd

The owners suddenly made clear they don't want to pay market rate or bonuses for getting the funding, instead using an option pool to incentivise. Saying "we never pay these salaries for our other companies". They appoint a CEO (recently ex-military) who has no commercial experience, who I will report too and who will manage investors.

One of the reasons I worked on fundraise is I want to be paid market rate for my work (I did 87 back to back 12+ hour days to get the firm here at one point).

Do not want take on extra duties of managing and pitching a fund raise, whilst managing the day to day on the startup at the same time.

I don't want to have to teach the new CEO what industry we are in and how it differs from the military. (He's not going to pick up international management accounting and tech skills working at NATO no matter what rank)

Anyone got any advice? I keep getting told to roll with it, but I feel as though I'm getting shafted. I have autism so find confrontation to be tricky and the owners are all professional negotiators/lawyers...

submitted by /u/MadDog2020ScrewTop
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