This Chronicles my three years of partnering with a tech startup and how the arrangement fell apart.
My name is Imoleayo Ogunbekun , I am the unknown web host/ developer behind Dochosts , a startup where we host several customers website and also manage them.
Please kindly avail me this medium to shed light on a business gone wrong, apparently it’s similar to the Glory Osei , LandLagos debacle.
I met Nkiru in 2016 October, having been referred from a friend that she needed a website.
At our meeting, we discussed about her vision for Dochosts and how she needs a good web developer and hosting manager for the business idea. I was ready to be the unseen face of DOCHOSTS simply because I have my own business Tested Technologies and wouldn’t want a conflicting identity since Dochosts will be operating in the same business domain.
In conclusion, we had a makeshift agreement which we also agreed at that time is subject to upward review as we go along.
Our discussion was that in partnership, I will be responsible for developing the hosting platform/ management of websites hosted therein and also responsible for client queries since it’s already a business I already live on.
The agreement states that I own 16 percent profit of whatever comes out of our transactions and I also own 15 percent profit share of the company whenever I chose to leave.
I will also be entitled to 11,000 NGN for internet service monthly for my internet and power running expenses since I can’t afford to be offline for clients to reach me.
In good faith and seeing her drive, I took the offer and designed the platform from scratch, and also started tutoring her on website design and how to negotiate with clients since she knows nothing in that field and will need to meet clients.
6 Months down the line, no promised 11k and of course no profit ( expected of startup). I called her attention to the agreement and verbally she proposed that since she’s unable to meetup with the payment I will be getting 15% shares of DOCHOSTS whenever it is is registered
. As a result of this new proposal , I intensified on the strategy, even designed several websites for Deep Ocean Consult (free) in a bid to grow Dochosts hosting platform.
14 months down the line , things started shaping up, and of course I reminded her of registering DOCHOSTS with CAC to ensure our agreement is sealed, she kept promising that it will soon be done.
18 months down the line, I found out by a stroke of luck that DOCHOSTS was already registered without my knowledge which I confronted her with and she said, she registered it as a business name 15 months after we started. Of course I was furious about this and reminded her of our existing agreement, she apologized and promised it will be converted to a limited liability company soon.
Because of my constant complaint about this, on our way from She trades Program in 2018 , she proposed verbally in the taxi that if the Dochosts LTD conversion won’t work, she’ll give me 13% shares of Deep Ocean Consult.
We were on this issue for so long and nothing forthcoming. We had other people who worked with us and had to leave afterwards because she owed them all, she still owes me for Deep Ocean Consult jobs aside from the free ones I did…., even the graphic designers
Last week, to my surprise I received a new agreement from her proposing profit sharing with a 5 years tenure, which I refused and she called my bluff that I can do whatever I want. Unknown to me, she had changed all passwords and locked me out of all the administrative management part of the platform.
Over the weekend, I understand Dochosts had a very strong hack attempt on the platform where almost every file was compromised and she was now begging me to help solve a problem she created without my knowledge.
Presently, I’m already locked out of a platform I built from scratch for 3 years all because I believed in humans.
I have done several businesses with people within and outside the shores of Nigeria, even people I’ve never met who end up referring me to others.
Trust and integrity are measured in bits especially when building a business, people will speak on your behalf as long as they can trust you.
In conclusion, never take verbal agreement during business negotiation, or preferably just go solo …
If in doubt, write it down and ensure a lawyer vets it.
We’re not all saints.