|I need your advice, guys.|
Angel-funded startup isn't going to make it to its series A, will be going on the auction block soon. I'm an employee with a significant equity stake, but not a founder, who invented and implemented the software which is the company's sole salable asset. (In hindsight I am very aware that this was a lousy situation to have put myself in, but here we are anyway.)
The software has real value, good market visibility, and actual sales. I don't think we'll have much trouble finding buyers -- but most of the likely acquirers are larger corporate types I have little interest in working for long-term. (This is at least partly burnout talking, but I'm kind of done working for other people at all at this point.)
So I know I need to get out in front of my management team before they make a deal I'll walk away from, but this is new territory for me and I have no idea what would be reasonable to ask for and what would get me laughed out of the room.
I know there are a lot of variables here so I'm not asking for dollar amounts, just a general reality check on what I can expect from the next few months. In particular: what's the shortest transition-the-product-to-new-ownership period I can reasonably look for? Is there typically any short-term payout for acquired employees or will everything be in salary and slow-vesting options? Is there any likelihood of an acquirer being interested in purchasing the product but not its developers? Assuming I do stick it out as an acquihire, what's the likelihood I'd be allowed to remain in charge of my product vs having to execute on someone else's vision? When, if ever, is it appropriate for me to ask to be included in negotiations with acquirers? Most importantly: how do I best stand up for my own interests here, without being the asshole that ruins the deal for everyone?