Thursday, January 10, 2013

The blue pill - 4

(This is the fourth part of the short story The Blue Pill. You can find the entire story here.)

During the next few days, Dr. Achinta Roy met with Gopal Dass multiple times and also met with his boss to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both the options. Dr. Roy was more and more convinced that he should not let go of the technology he had designed. Giving it all away to someone and getting big money was quite attractive but he somehow couldn't convince himself to do this.

The two executives from Babylon returned soon. Satish Raju pulled out his laptop and opened a presentation. Gopal Dass was also present. Dr. Roy wanted him to be there so that any terms he did not understand could be translated into layman's language by him. Raju started the presentation. Some slides about Babylon's strong commitment to innovation in dialysis to ultimately benefit patients, some with sketchy details about Dr. Roy's new device, then finally some slides about the financials.

Raju talked about the first option. They would give Dr. Roy a large sum of money and he would hand over all the patents, the designs, the experiments he had done and all the Intellectual Property that he held pertaining to the device to Babylon. He would hold no rights whatsoever on the device. Wow, Dr. Roy thought to himself. With that money, he wouldn't need to do anything else for the rest of his life. He could spend his time on whatever he chose to, work only for the pleasure of it and not have to worry about money ever again.

Raju then came to the second option. Babylon would hire Dr. Roy. He would get some stock options of which a portion would vest immediately for the technology he is bringing in. He would need to move to the US and be based out of Los Angeles, work in the Babylon headquarters and bring the device to market under the Babylon flag.

Hmmmm, thought Dr. Roy, not so lucrative as the first option!

Raju ended his presentation saying both had a common goal - bringing this device which would change lives of millions to the market as soon as possible. Raju said they would like a decision quickly in order to get started on this.

Dr. Roy thanked him for the proposals and said he needed some time to think about both and then get back to them.

"Of course, totally understand!"

Dr. Roy had endless discussions with Dass and Dass' boss. Everyone advised him to take the cash and go home! Dr. Roy did not feel it would be the right thing to do. "This is my baby. I cannot let someone else take it away!" Once they were all clear that they would go with the second option, they started talking about how to negotiate. Dass told Dr. Roy that these kinds of companies would give an offer assuming there would be some negotiation. It was, by no means, their final offer.

About a month had passed. There were numerous calls and emails from Raju in the meantime. They offered to have meetings to discuss various things. Dr. Roy asked for more time. He wanted to understand the offer completely and what it meant for him.

Dr. Roy and his advisors came up with a counter-offer finally. He called Satish Raju and asked for a meeting. The next day, the four men met in Dr. Roy's lab.

Dr. Roy began, "Satish, I am not very tech savvy. I don't have a fancy presentation but I have my thoughts in my mind and I will put them before you."

Raju smiled.

"I would not like to part with the technology and not have anything to do with it. I am very passionate about this and would like to see it through to the end. There is no way I can go with the first option. The second option seems too little for me to transfer ownership to you people. So, this discussion, I guess, ends here!"

Raju was a little taken aback. "So, maybe you found our offer low. What numbers are you looking at?"

"If there is a 5-10% difference, there may be some point talking, right? If the difference is so huge, there really isn't any point pursuing this! I think you underestimate the huge potential of this device!"

"Dr. Roy, rest assured that we fully appreciate the impact this device is likely to have. However, you must realize that the offer that we have given is a very generous one! In the history of Bablyon acquisitions, no one has ever been given so much stock! Not only do you make money on every unit of the device sold, you also make money on everything the company does. You are becoming one of the owners of the entire company!"

"I understand that. However, the device is going to become the company's. For that I think I deserve much more!"

Over the next few weeks, Dr. Roy met multiple times with Satish Raju and Kanwal Nambiar, the persistent executives from Babylon. They went back on forth on the numbers - the stock, the vesting schedule, the milestones, the salary and so on.

After a painstaking two months, they finally reached a settlement over all the terms of the agreement. Dr. Roy was fairly satisfied with the deal. He would be moving to the US in a month's time along with his wife. He could finally get back to what he loved doing the most - working on the device!

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