co-founders

Except this time, that co-founder might actually have a case. Valley Wag is reporting that Douglas Warstler is suing Yik Yak’s two co-founders for excluding him out of Yik Yak. The basic story is that the three started a company with 1/3 ownership each that created and launched Yik Yak.

(Yik Yak is a location-based, anonymous chat app popular in schools. My start-up’s app, feecha, actually started out as something similar, so the fact that Yik Yak is more successful is a testament to the importance of execution. But that’s a story for another day.)

Two of Yik Yak’s co-founders graduated from university and moved to a different city while Warstler had a year left that he intended to complete. The two co-founders didn’t want a long distance, part-time situation and tried to buy him out. Warstler refused. And so the other two co-founders transferred Yik Yak to a new company and didn’t give Warstler any shares.

That’s what happened in a nutshell.

Typically, when these kinds of stories appear, my bias is with the remaining co-founders who actually built the business (e.g. Facebook, Snapchat). In this case however, my sympathies are with Warstler if what’s alleged is actually true.

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Bloomberg Businessweek has a fascinating article on Tinder’s origins story, which alleges much of what we know to be mythologized.  It’s a fantastic story and worth reading.

Tinder is not a start-up, for starters.  Giant corporation IAC is the majority owner.  IAC also owns Match.com and originally planned for Tinder to be a marketing tool to get more users to the paid service.

The two most often portrayed as Tinder’s co-founders, CEO Sean Rad and his buddy Justin Mateen, aren’t really so.  Mateen joined only after Tinder was launched on the app store, and there were three others who played crucial founding roles but don’t get much if any recognition.

One of them is Whitney Wolfe, a former marketing executive, who is suing Tinder and parent IAC for sexual harassment and discrimination.  More interesting though is that Tinder’s marketing breakthrough was her initiative.

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