|This question is regarding equity division within a very young startup. I will try to explain the situation as best as I can in this short text. I am an undergraduate computer science student at a well-known public university.|
I have worked for two startups in the past which didn't end up going anywhere but this was usually due to mismanagement. I used multiple platforms at these at both of those jobs for web development and was a major contributer to the code-base.
When I started looking for a new startup, I came into contact with a computer science professor at my college who was starting a company co-founding it with a business guy who was privately funding it during these early stages.
I was hired by them a year and a few months ago as the only "consistent contributer" in the company. I primarily started out on mostly development but quickly started participating in the meetings to help work out requirements, design and business aspects regarding where the company was going. We have up to this point currently still retained the same situation.
In a nutshell, two co-founders (one a professor, one business) and me as a key player in designing and implementing the database, the design flow, the architecture, and all other aspects of the site. The professor is primarily serving as programming the mathematical models and algorithms of the site (part of the core competency). We have contractors which have done aspects of the overall service such as create a photoshop view of the site, worked on other extensions which are thin layers on top of the infrastructure and api that I partially designed and also implemented.
The actual site as far as the data back-end, the integration of all the parts, working with the contractors on technical details, was worked out by me and the professor co-founder. I would say it is mutually agreed upon by all parties that through my contributions, I have played a variety of roles. Most of what we have today to show for the company was either designed and implemented or integrated into the overall service by me (through collaboration with the founders). I was there since virtually day one as far as when the product began to actually be designed and developed.
I graduate this year from the university and I have thinking long and hard of what's to come in the future. I am really invested in this startup both through lots of time and effort but also just that I like the idea and I would love to work with them for the foreseeable future. However, I am graduating and I have had several job offers in addition to having my own company that I co-founded in which my time could also be spent. The startup in question has been giving me a salary per hour which as a student is competitive but certainly not quite near market rate for a similar developer who has about 5 years of relevant work experience and just chose not to go to college.
I began negotiating with them about getting equity over time because I feel I have been a key force in the success of the company thus far. The company is also not generating any revenue at this point but there is a plan to make some in the recent foreseeable future. As far as funding, we have not yet achieved any angel or VC funding but are currently being privately funded. Sorry this is long setup, but can anyone give me advice as to what's in the ballpark of "fair" given the situation. What recommendations do you have helping us negotiate to a reasonable amount of equity for me?