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.
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?
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).
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?
And so no, the answer is not obvious.
Please don't, that is a completely different question. I'm honestly not sure how you managed to conflate the two.
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.
Given Kyle's background... The answer is yes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?)
The fact that you find it unfathomable that maybe, possibly, some rich SV-types could be the bad guys here is delusional.