Chris Heivly, co-founder of The Startup Factory along with Dave Neal in Durham, writes a story in Inc. about how to fire a co-founder.

So The Skinny asks Heivly: How did Neal react?

“I enjoyed your post on how to fire a co-founder. I wanted to followup on this – seriously as well as a bit tongue in cheek.

“Did you warn Dave Neal you were writing this? What was his reaction?”

“Laughing,” Heivly replies. “So is Dave. On many fronts.”

Jokes aside, Heivly wrote that firing a partner in a startup is “a bitter pill to swallow.”

“Have you had to fire a co-founder in the past? If so what was the most challenging part of that decision? Any regrets?”

“I have had to fire (or separate) from a co-founder twice,” Heivly, a serial entrepreneur, replies via email.

“I have no regrets.

“It was really hard.

“It burns into your soul as this person gave A LOT and sacrificed.

“But, the overriding thought is and should be, ‘what is good for the company.’

“The company is bigger than you or me.”

“So when Dave writes a blog about how to fire a co-founder who you find out wants to fire you, your response will be …”

No response.

Duck, Duck, Goose …

At a post through his personal website (, Heivly touted the more in-depth article at Inc. in which he lays out the “6 steps to firing your co-founder when things start going bad.”

As a startup grows toward formal product, sales and seeking-funding stages, the people running the business face increasing pressure to deliver. He calls this stage the “startup pressure cooker.”

“The official kickoff typically entails making tough decisions–quitting your job, raising some capital, or taking on obligations (space, new hires, etc.). This stage is also when you may need to jettison your company’s deadwood–that is, a co-founder who isn’t pulling her weight,” he wrote at Inc.

At his own website, Heivly took a more diplomatic approach,

“And, something almost always breaks and if you are a multi-founder team it usually is one of your co-founders. Duck, duck, goose – someone is out.”

As for the six steps and what is involved, read Heivly’s full post at Inc.

You can beat Dave Neal did.

Duck, duck …