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Background

A friend of mine (Xander) came to me with a business idea that seemed a good one and offered me to work on it. However, he was unable to negotiate with investors and we did not start.

One month later, another friend (Yann) called me and showed interest in investing money in an idea. I want to offer Xander's idea to Yann and start it. I don't want to break up with X, so I want to offer him to join us.

The problem is, if me and Xander started this together, Xander would've had a lot more share than now, because his amount of contribution will decrease drastically.

Question

As there is a high chance of rejection by Xander, how can I properly elaborate the situation and ask him to join us so that things go well?

Notes:

Xander is resourceful, so having him on the team is beneficial.

The idea is not a new idea, it's just a plan to produce an already built Tech device.

  • Is Xander still pursuing the idea as a business venture? What skills does Yann bring to the enterprise, or is he just an investor (the very thing Xander was missing)? Would working with Yann cut Xander out somehow (like, it would have been his company, but with Yann's investment it's yours, or something like that)? – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Nov 18 '18 at 16:10
  • @Upper_Case, The main thing is Xander got a new job, in which he has to work really hard, so no time or energy to put in work, but he says he will come back to idea in several years later, Yann at the other hand brings money, technical skills(not at my level) and a place to work, so working with Yann will definitely changes the company owner or main person to either me or Yann. – Osmos Nov 18 '18 at 19:33
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My suggestion is to present the idea to Xander, focusing on the benefits he will receive in going forward with his idea in a three person partnership. Primarily, less personal time and money investment.

20% of a successfully company is a whole lot more desirable than 1/2 of a company that never makes it off the planning boards, and I think it will probably be easy to make him see how it benefits him to either go in with you and Yann, or license/sell his idea to you so that he can reap at least some benefit if he can't devote any time or effort to the idea.

The one thing that you can't do is go ahead and use the idea without X's buy-in. That way leads to not only a ruined relationship, but very possibly legal trouble as well.

  • Tnx @Meg, Can you elaborate your last point, why cant I start the business without Xander acknowledgement, there will be no legal issues, I ask about ethics – Osmos Dec 6 '18 at 12:18
  • @Osmos, okay, I see that the idea isn't a new one that is intellectual property of Xander, but just that he suggested this business idea to you. In that case there will be no legal issues, but Xander would likely be hurt and offended. – Meg Dec 6 '18 at 13:39
  • There is a good chance that he will feel that you "stole" the idea to start this business, as even though wasn't his original invention. He likely devoted time and energy to this idea-- for example, did research into the potential profitability and what is was involved in starting it up, investigated suppliers and local ordinances, etc.. It will seem unfair to him that you benefit from his legwork and his idea to start this venture, while cutting him out of the chance to profit. – Meg Dec 6 '18 at 13:49
  • tnx, your solution is logical and I likely will try it, But you get really to what my question is about, about Xander being hurt, part of me says its not ok, part of me says opposite, what is your beliefe as a final word about it, that will really help. – Osmos Dec 6 '18 at 13:54
  • If you are asking, "Is it morally acceptable to use Xander's idea, but with a different partner without his permission?" I would say that it is slightly unethical, and more so if he's already put a lot of base work and time into the idea. If you are asking "Will Xander be upset if I use his idea with a different partner without asking?", I think there is a very good chance that he will be, although he may be understanding since he doesn't have time for the business now. Even if he's calm about it, it will likely change your relationship-- he probably will no longer share ideas with you. – Meg Dec 6 '18 at 14:13
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Simply let him know the current scenario. Also tell him that negotiations didn't worked earlier but that's not the case now.

As Xander is your good friend he will understand the scenario and you can grow together.

Even if he chooses otherwise you will not be having any guilt and you will still be friends.

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