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2 min read

#CofounderPrenups and why they matter: Giancarlo's story

#CofounderPrenups and why they matter: Giancarlo's story

Inspired by an unmemorable dog sitting van (!), Words.tel offers companies a fresh way to stand out from the crowd. Described as a ‘What Three Words for business’, Words.tel is set to revolutionise the way we use search engines.

Words.tel’s founder, Giancarlo Erra had a lightbulb moment after failing to recall any identifying features from a van that he’d seen pass by. Recalling the birth of his new concept, he stated that, “by the time I arrived home, I couldn't remember the phone number, the very long email address, all the different social media handles etc.” 

He realised that businesses could come up with distinctive, memorable phrases and have people search for those instead. Despite the great idea, Giancarlo needed help to bring Words.tel to life but didn’t have the money to attract talent. He used his equity to attract co-founders, and to protect it, he used Vestd to set up watertight and inspiring prenups.

 

“I thought it was going to be expensive and awkward but it wasn’t.”

Giancarlo developed a team of eight co-founders and awarded all of them growth shares with milestones to ensure that everybody was “motivated to work - you're all in it together and if things go well, they go well for everyone.”

All of the shares were conditional, meaning that Giancarlo’s new co-founders couldn’t walk away at any point with more than they deserved. 

He cautions that, “it’s very important to carefully select the people you work with. So be sure that you're working with people that are as honest and as passionate as you are about the product, that is the main thing.”

With everybody set up with prenups, Words.tel was locked and loaded for success.

“It was literally an enabler for us, to give ownership to our early collaborators.”

Giancarlo says that he’s often asked at networking and pitching events how he managed to get a strong team around him so early.

“I always say, well… if you find people that believe in the project, then you can make them part of the company by giving them conditional shares”.

“Without shares, we wouldn't have people working for us. People accept that it's a start and collaborate with us because of the shares.”

“And the nice thing is that once you do it once, it’s very straightforward. So you know when I tell people about the prenup process… it’s a very simple concept and it’s appealing and very straightforward.”

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