According to Jason Calacanis, Taso du Val the CEO of TopTal, a distributed workforce service that connects companies with freelancers screwed Silicon Valley investors, and all of its employees out of equity.
On E972 of This Week in Startups Calacanis lost it after learning that early TopTal employee Scott Ritter took a huge pay cut on the understanding that he would receive $10k equity, which at today’s valuation is believed to be worth at least $1.2 million.
Calacanis said “If what is alleged is true, and it seems to be undeniable, the founder of TopTal is the worst human being to ever run a startup in Silicon Valley or otherwise”.
Scott Ritter, one of TopTal’s first key sales hires that helped drive it’s growth was Director of Client Success between 2011-2018 and claims he was offered $10k in company equity as a form of compensation for a pay cut he took.
Ritter said “after the amount of time that a person spends in a company like that, it’s a ‘work family’ so it’s even more heartbreaking when something like that happens and it’s even more personal”.
In terms of “promise of equity”, Ritter stated he was “the second sales guy” at TopTal when they had to make a change to the commission structure.
Ritter was at $2,800 per week in commissions and a $3,000 per month base salary or around $15k / month, or $180k per year when Taso told him the pay wasn’t scalable and he’d have to take a pay cut.
To soften the pay cut blow the TopTal CEO, Taso du Val said “we’re going to give you $5k cash, and $10k in company equity”, according to Ritter.
Watch the full This Week in Startups Episode to get the complete story.
Note: We reached out to Taso / TopTal asking for a response but have not heard back.
We’ll update the story if we hear back from Taso or TopTal.