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The facts seem to be more on Jeremy's side than Kyle's except that the application video demonstrates that Jeremy believed Kyle also knew something about robotics.

Regardless of the outcome of this incident, if you apply to Y Combinator with someone who knows the YC partners better than you, and your cofounder decides to push you out, your cofounder will be supported by YC against you. This is now something that every team of founders will have to think harder about now. It will harm founder cohesion which will reduce the success percentage in each batch.

On the other hand, this is a positive signal to people who want to exploit a cofounder to get past the YC application process and then push them out of the company.




"If you apply to YC with someone who knows the YC partners better than you and your co-founder decides to push you out, your co-founder will be supported by YC against you"

What? One founder worked on the company for almost 3 years and the other party in question worked on the company for one month, yet this is a huge YC conspiracy? How do you get this crap out of the written complaints in any way?


Would Cruise have been accepted to Ycombinator at all if it had just been Kyle applying?

Put another way, if Jeremy didn't contribute anything, then why did Kyle start working with him in the first place? Put him in the YC video? List a planned 50/50 equity split in the YC application?

These seem to be at least reasonable questions IMO.

All that said, I think the issue here is that Sam Altman personally invested in Cruise, which creates a subtle conflict of interest. It's in Sam's best interest as a Cruise director to crush Jeremy, but perhaps (as the parent suggests) it would be in YC's best interest to just stay out of it (above the fray).


> Would Cruise have been accepted to Y Combinator at all if it had just been Kyle applying?

Are you seriously asking if YC would have accepted the former co-founder of a company that sold for over a billion dollars? Isn't the answer to that question obvious?


Not without begging the question. Because we could rephrase your sentiment as, "Are you seriously asking whether a co-founder of a billion dollar company should list some unknown engineer as his 50/50 co-founder on a YC application?" Most people would say, "Of course not", and yet it is currently undisputed that Guillory's name is listed as such.

And so no, the answer is not obvious.


> we could rephrase your sentiment as, "Are you seriously asking whether a co-founder of a billion dollar company should list some unknown engineer as his 50/50 co-founder on a YC application?"

Please don't, that is a completely different question. I'm honestly not sure how you managed to conflate the two.


Well, answer the other questions then.

Granting 50% of equity is a lot, and as an experienced entrepreneur, Kyle would know that. But he wrote it down as the plan. Why?

These are the sorts of questions a court will be asked to ponder.


The answer is, Kyle was entirely comfortable granting 50% equity because it was subject to standard vesting, and everyone involved understood that Jeremy would own no part of the company if he left in the first year.


They did get accepted into YC without Jeremy (who had already parted by the time the interview was done). Perhaps your question should have been "would they have been shortlisted".

Given Kyle's background... The answer is yes.


> Would Cruise have been accepted to Ycombinator at all if it had just been Kyle applying?

Yes, without a doubt. He's previously YC by way of Justin.tv / Socialcam / Twitch. If you're good enough to go through YC once and have a track record of success you're a shoe-in for your next venture.

Realistically Kyle would have been accepted to YC without any idea and he would have been wildly successful with Cruise even without YC.


So then why include Jeremy and state his 50% ownership?


Uh, how do you not get that from Guillory's counter-complaint, unless you believe that Guillory is lying? He claims to have been forced out. The YC app has him listed as a 50% co-founder. Altman's blog post and the complaint against Guillory don't dispute that fact.


I don't know, because I'm not delusional maybe?

Even if he was forced out how does this involve YC in any way. Everything in both timelines With regard to Jeremy and Kyle ceasing to work together happened prior to YC even agreeing to invest in the company.


Because YC accepted the application with the names of both founders and a 50/50 split. Vogt has not produced documentation that, at the time that YC accepted Cruise or shortly afterwards, that they formalized the fact that Vogt was sole founder.

A couple of years later, just as it is on the verge of sharing in a big payday, only now does YC take an interest in saying that Guillory is an extortionist who shouldn't get a co-founder's due. If you're someone who believes Guillory's side of the story -- that he was forced out -- then yes, you might see YC and Vogt conspiring against Guillory.


Even if he were forced out, do you honestly believe that someone who was fired after 1 month at a company is entitled to full 50% ownership in that company? Can you honestly not see how that claim, given its timing, is being construed as extortion?


Come on, stick to the actual claims, don't make up strawmen scenarios.

Jeremy isn't claiming 50% of the company, he is claiming 50% of Kyle's share, minus whatever Kyle would be given in exchange for the $100k he put in.

Noone is saying that Jeremy is entitled to that share because of a month of work. Jeremy is claiming that Kyle promised him a 50/50 split, and that their YC application video is a writing of this promise. And if that's the case, then the magnitude of Jeremy's effort doesn't matter legally.


I didn't say that I believe that Vogt and YC claim of extortion is false. You asked, "How do you get this crap out of the written complaints in any way?", because you seem surprised why any reasonable person could consider Guillory's side, given the facts stated in the complaint and counter-complaint.

Well, his counter-complaint claims that he was integral to the development of the company. To back that claim, he has actual paperwork, the existence of which has not been disputed by Vogt. Of course, there's plenty of time for Vogt to produce documentation showing that Guillory's stake was rescinded, but we haven't seen it yet, not even in Altman's principled "screw the lawyers" blog post yesterday.


As someone who has worked in early stage startups for 9 years now, I'd be hard pressed to believe that anyone who worked at a company for one month at its beginning was 'integral to the development of the company'. That's just not how startups work. The value isn't in the initial idea, or the detailed initial plan. It's in the hard work, the long nights writing code, the prototyping and testing, and prototyping and testing again, the recruiting, the sales, the fundraising, the deal-making. So no, I don't believe that anyone who has worked for 1 month at any company at any stage deserves 50% of that company. That is fundamentally unfair.


Fundamentally unfair happens all the time, especially when the law is at play. But unfair doesn't mean immoral, illegal, or even "mean".

Further I would dispute the notion that the value is in the hard work, long nights, etc. Value definitely does lie there and that's definitely measurable. But there's TONS of value in outlining the correct approach, dividing the problem correctly, etc. That's called architecture and I've worked on projects with none of it and it's a disaster.

For the starkest example of how this plays out, I would invite you to watch the NOVA special "The Great Robot Race" which outlines how all the competitors worked on getting "the best X hardware" where X was the piece that they thought was the most crucial to success including now giants like CMU. In the end it was folks from Stanford who recognized that the exact car, exact LIDAR, etc weren't the crucial missing link, but rather that the software was the problem. And they won based primarily on that insight and then successfully executing.


I have a counter-example. I worked at a small SaaS company where I built the foundation web service and performed query optimization that took from them a highly-inadequate non-scalable product to something that handled scale gracefully. A substantial amount of this work was done in my first month there - in my opinion, my domain knowledge ensured that what I did for them in this month would have taken them a lot more hardware and many months to even get close.

You seem to be very dismissive of turning-point ideas and crucial features that make or break companies. Archimedes' principle, the foundation of modern naval history, was a Eureka moment thought up in a bathtub. Should we ignore this contribution because it took moments to come upon this insight?

I am not taking sides here and wish to let the courts work through this complaint without casting aspersions on either side.


How do you justify use of the term "fired"?

If you have 50% of equity, therefor 50% of the vote in corporate decisions, how can the decision be made to "fire" you without your active consent?

"Fire" seems to apply to someone compensated under the normal "right to work" ("right to fire") legal framework in the US, not a founder. So the terminology seems very odd to me.

(Maybe this just reflects my lack of understanding of business law?)


It has the appearance of involving YC because the president of YC posted an aggressive blog post about it.


>I don't know, because I'm not delusional maybe?

The fact that you find it unfathomable that maybe, possibly, some rich SV-types could be the bad guys here is delusional.


Or it means you should always get everything in writing no matter what side you're on. A simple statement regarding how the shares vest would have prevented this.


It sounds like Jeremy wasn't at the company long enough to get that sorted out. I am curious why he left so soon though.


The complaint says he was ousted by Vogt unilaterally.


True, I'm wondering what Vogt's response would be. I'm also curious why Kyle would want Jeremy gone after a month.




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