At most startups today, there are two groups of early team members. There is the one who can go unpaid and without benefits for an extended period of time, with friends who can do the same. From this group come founders, with company ownership often simply 100% divided by the number of founders at the start, as it was at my last startup. Then there is the “early employee” group, who too-often receive a desultory salary and benefit package, and less than 1% company ownership.
So many seed funds. Too few warm intros. Scarce stage, sector, and style data on investors. “Raising 1.5 on 6 in a party round.” “Double opt in intros need a personalized forwardable with a tight 2-3 page overview attached.” “That CEO could use a Sheryl.” Incredible wisdom buried in hard-to-find blogs and tweets, and dispensed IRL at hard to gain acceptance to programs and tightly knit startup communities. Participating preferred. SAFE or convertible. Exploding offer.