Apparently when it comes to starting successful apps with your fraternity brothers geared towards college students, time is a flat circle. The founders of Snapchat are ensnarled in a length lawsuit with a fraternity brother from their days at Stanford who says he’s owed an equity stake in the multi-billion dollar company. Now business history is more-or-less repeating itself with the founders of Yik Yak, the tremendously popular anonymous thought-sharing app geared towards college students. If you’re not familiar, Yik Yak is like a cross of Whisper, Reddit, and Juicy Campus, for those of you who remember it back in the day. It’s also notorious for attracting lunatics who like to post anonymous bomb threats (note incidents here and here).
According to Alyson Shontell at Business Insider, Yik Yak founders Stephen Brooks Buffington and Tyler Steven Droll are being sued by Douglas Warstler, a Kappa Alpha brother of their at Furman University who says he’s owned a one-third stake in the company. Buffington was Warstler’s “big brother” in the fraternity and given a one-third stake, so he claims. The two cofounders then offered to buy out his stake, though he refused. Instead of moving forward, the two allegedly just started a new company, minus Warstler. Here’s the court complaint, via BI:
Plaintiff, Buffington, and Droll partnered up to work and pool money together to develop and market various mobile applications including Yik Yak, a social media mobile application that allows people to post anonymously to other users within a 1.5 mile radius. The three of them agreed, in writing and orally, to split ownership of the Yik Yak partnership into 1/3 each. After acknowledging in writing Plaintiff’s ownership interest in the Yik Yak partnership and unsuccessfully attempting to buy Plaintiff out, Buffington and Droll did the unthinkable: they brazenly kicked Plaintiff out of the partnership and claimed that Plaintiff owned nothing in Yik Yak. To cover things up and erase any evidence of Plaintiff’s ownership, Buffington and Droll dissolved the company under which they and Plaintiff co-developed and co-owned Yik Yak, and transferred the company’s only asset — the Yik Yak application — into a newly-created company.
Interestingly enough, Warstler is using the same lawyer as the Snapchat lawsuit. Oh yeah: And Yik Yak reportedly raised $75 million in venture in a fundraise, so it’s definitely worth a pretty penny when it comes to cashing out that stock. Obviously there’s a lot that needs to be ironed out, though, so we’ll see if it holds any merit.
Business Brotip: When you’re chillin’ with your frat Bros talking about your genius business ideas and how to make “all of this last forever!!!!” make sure you fulfill those promises and don’t become a shady scumbag to your fellow Bros.