The YC VC Program: 1/4 YC Founders from S12 had a founder breakup
Ottway Ducard stashed this in startups
Relevant thread: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4833474
"The office hours help all the startups. Decreasing the amount invested helps the successful and borderline startups because it means less of our time is taken up mediating founder disputes in the ones that are exploding. And yes, that was a significant time suck; Jessica says the majority of her time last batch was spent dealing with founder breakups.
IIRC around a quarter of the startups lost a founder. Many of those partings were amicable though. Maybe a third required us to get involved."
Don't understand why the fact that partings are "amicable" is important...
Also, wonder how many more breakups beyond that were not requiring YC involvement.
I'm guessing it's in how the YC partners spend their time.
Amicable breakup = YC partners spend time outplacing the founders.
Less-than-amicable breakup = YC partners spend time mediating quibbles.
Non-amicable = possible lawsuits, lingering tension/demotivation/uncertainty.
Wow, I'm sure YC doesn't want lawsuits and ex-founders demotivating others...
More context is in this later story: http://news.cnet.com/8301-32973_3-57554351-296/ron-conway-steps-back-as-y-combinator-cuts-team-funding/
Reading between the lines, my guess is: the promise of the $150K was making teams that should've gracefully wound down or parted ways instead hold on and fight over rights to the $150K.
I wouldn't particularly blame them... they may have run up personal debts earlier expecting the later influx of funds. But I can see the de facto promise of the $150K creating some perverse incentives... for example to present an image of continuity/hope/founder-peace where it might not be appropriate.
Compare married couples who might be miserable but staying together "for the children" (or alternately fighting viciously for custody).... if you can manage to think of a Convertible Note as if it were a child.