What is Ralph J. Yarro of Canopy infamy doing on the Trolltech board of directors?
Early 1999 Trolltech had helped Utah-based Caldera to create their award-winning graphical Linux installer. Around the same time we also started developing Qt/Embedded for the embedded Linux market. Lineo, another Utah company, was the king of embedded Linux at the time, and they needed a product like Qt/Embedded for Linux-based consumer devices.
Canopy was a major VC and stakeholder in both Caldera and Lineo. Ralph Yarro, President and CEO of Canopy, recognized that Trolltech could help two of their porfolio companies succeed and decided to make an investment in Trolltech.
I met Ralph Yarro in Utah in August 1999 and we agreed on an investment term-sheet (with very reasonable terms for Trolltech, by the way).
Did we do the right thing? Definitely. Canopy was the first investor in Trolltech and their investment made it possible for us to grow the company and build new products. Canopy was later followed by Borland and a syndicate of three Norwegian VCs.
As part of the investment agreement, each investor got a seat on the board: Ralph Yarro from Canopy, Dale Fuller from Borland and Ingar Ostby from Northzone. Ralph Yarro has been on our board since late 1999.
Sorry, sitting on the board means "influence".
Ralph Yarro has about zero influence over how we run the company. When you have a person on your board that might have a conflict of interest in certain areas you will make sure that this person does not participate in all discussions or get access to all company information.
What is financial relationship between SCO/Canopy and Trolltech?
The deal in 1999 also involved a stock swap with Caldera. As all of you know, Caldera became SCO a couple of years ago and changed their Linux agenda. Trolltech owned stock in SCO but we decided to sell them last year after the interview took place. But SCO still owns a tiny portion of Trolltech shares.
Does Trolltech owe money to SCO/Canopy?
Does Canopy have contractual rights to seats on the board?
Yes, this is part of the investment contract we have with all our investors.
Does SCO/Canopy have warrants or other agreements to take control of Trolltech later?
No, are you nuts? We would be pretty stupid to sign an investment contract that would give a minor (or even major) shareholder the ability to take control of our company.
Do I support Canopy's or SCO's actions? No way.