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John Morris

Co-founder feuds at L.A. tech start-ups show how handshake deals can blow up

Co-founder feuds at L.A. tech start-ups show how handshake deals can blow up

Two Stanford University undergraduates shook hands in their dormitory in early 2011, agreeing to partner on what they hoped would be the next big technology start-up. But as their dream came true, their simple exercise of trust became a liability when one co-founder was dumped. A flimsy foundation of oral OKs, napkin scribblings and youthful haste, it turns out, is a dangerous mix. And a common one. Snapchat Inc., the Stanford residence hall creation that later moved to Venice Beach, is on a growing list of hot start-ups that have faced bitter lawsuits or wrenching behind-the-scenes battles over who played an essential role in a company's birth and how much money and respect they...

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