Future of IndieHosters #2


As you may know, IndieHosters’ goal is to be a federated network of small hosters.

In practice, until now, IndieHosters’ network and IndieHosters’ first hoster is all the same: a personal business at the name of Pierre Ozoux registered in Portugal.

The idea is to discuss the future of this.

Here are some documents/coop organization that fascinates me:

I’d make it lean, and as there is no hosters yet that is willing to join IndieHosters network, I’ll keep the network part for later, when we have 3 members. Until then, network and hoster will be the same entity.

People are joining and willing to work with me, so this personal business doesn’t fit any more. We need to find a legal form.

Any feedback input would be amazing!


Hello Pierre!

Legal forms are really important and I am glad you are considering this!

In the UK we have “bona fide” cooperative societies and community benefit societies. They are broadly similar but cooperatives aim to benefit their members whereas community benefit societies must have a stated community of interest in their articles of association. Both types must be members organisations,and have asset locks so property can’t be sold off to any old randomer.

I suppose the drawback here is Brexit.

Relatedly, there is also the fact that if a cooperative is incorporated in two EU countries it can convert into a European Cooperative Society. I forget the limits on this so it might not be appropriate, but it would be good to look at. I can look into this if it would be interesting and report back, if that is of interest.

Aside from the above I suppose the main questions revolve around board composition, member rights, and jurisdiction to incorporate in. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts as I only know about the UK!


I should also add that cooperatives UK has some good multi stakeholder model rules so that members can be part of different sets, eg hosters, workers and hostess representing blocks of the board vote with some number of board members each.


Hi Pierre,

Thanks for sharing these documents! I really appreciate as a user that you wish to create in IndieHosters the values defended by Valve and others. I am also fascinated by these kind of way to organize a company.

The coopérative model is really great. People I met said that it can take some time to set it up. But once it is set up, it become a more resilient organization. Here is what I know (which means not so much for now :joy: ) about coopérative model in Québec :

  • Everybody is a member (client, employee, partner, board) and pays an amount of money and can take part of the decision making process
  • The original mission can’t be changed by some people with malicious intent, even with a change of board or members
  • It is not easy (or even not possible ?) to buy the coop

Also, the self-funding is an important point indeed.

Loomio seems a very nice tool. Have you tried it yet ?

PS: I did not know that : [quote=“pierreozoux, post:1, topic:83”]
IndieHosters’ goal is to be a federated network of small hosters

Maybe I missed something? I did not see that on the website. BTW I heard of Indiehosters because the french website Framasoft wrote that you have signed their charter and agreed with their values (an internet of freedom).


Thanks a lot for your feedback, I didn’t expect any responses, but glad you like it!

I’ll take more time to respond later. But I live in Portugal, and my Tim (he joined me in August) in France.
And tomorrow, I don’t know, but I’d like something flexible around Europe.

Can we make cooperatives in Dellaware?
If yes :slight_smile: https://stripe.com/atlas

And UK, no because of brexit of course, and

This could be amzing indeed. For now we are 2 autoentrepreneurs (with the possibility of 2 others joining us), but I guess we’dd still need to create an official compagny?

My main concern in this story is:

  • compagny owned by the workers
  • value distributed among the workers
  • decisions taken with users

And yes loomio looks great, but never had the change to use it yet :wink:


I’ve had a read into it and a European cooperative society can be registered by 5 members in a minimum of 2 member states. The catch if that 30k of signed up “share capital” is required. I am uncertain how this plays with indiehosters or what you might have in mind.

There is a good resource here with more details:

Maybe it would be wise to remain unincorporated but start thinking about what rules would be used at incorporation, and to try to stick to them? Maybe at first it will just be public agreements between you and other hosters that can be formalised more later?


Just as a side note,
We’ll go there in November:

And there is this awesome event in February:


Just to say, I doubt Brexit will really effect whether or not UK legal structures (of which there are many) would be suitable for this.

But also, check out these great multi-stakeholder rules http://www.somerset.coop/p/somerset-rules-registrations.html and the FairShares Association http://www.fairshares.coop/


Comments from @jdaviescoates:
This article is a good intro to FairShares stuff http://open.coop/2014/10/03/the-case-for-a-fairshares-model-of-enterprise/ and this book for all the background and nitty gritty details http://shura.shu.ac.uk/10198/

Oh and see also https://freedomcoop.eu/ who I’m pretty sure have reg’d as as European Cooperative Society and so will know all about that :slight_smile:


PS I’m one of the organisers of the Open 2017: Platform Cooperatives event in London in February too :slight_smile:


Cooperative is a good model;
they only thing I don’t see and/or know it’s how to make it world wide.

Most of example I saw and heard are local, in the same country.
Even Framasoft (C.H.A.T.O.N.S.) with their chart will probably have this potential issue.

One of my good friends works at an international hoster in Canada and they had few good cases with users/laws and management.

I could ask a friend work at Desiardins which is the only international “cooperative” I might know, but they definitively are bigger than IndieHosters and more profit driven too :wink:

I think; the federations part is good;
the cooperative part is good too
to share the same view and values
but they need to be independent, at least by country.



Thanks for your comment!

The idea would be that IndieHosters become a Foundation, the cooperative is for the hosting business we have right now. It is also called IndieHosters, so yes it is confusing, but my hope is that some people would become IndieHoster too :slight_smile: And then, we need to find another name here :slight_smile: Maybe Indie.Host :slight_smile:


Thanks @pierreozoux for sharing this with us, and for all the contributors to this thread. Learning a lot from it :slight_smile:

Another coop organises an event in South London this Thursday: https://medium.com/weareopencoop/are-we-post-capitalism-yet-e42e9341686c#.ee64qhynf + https://attending.io/events/wao-dec16-meetup

Happy to bring/relay some questions from this meetup. They have similar questioning around international payrolls etc.


So I have a concrete question :slight_smile:

None work full time on the project and for now we are 3.

The ultimate goal for me, is something I called “liquid cooperative”. The idea here would be that you get a “share” of future revenue based on work.

Here is the current plan to divide. IndieHosters job are 2 things:

  • support
  • tasks for features/bugs

We would to work with points, a point would roughly represent an hour of work / day.
For support, you would earn 2points/day you are in charge.
And for tasks, we would evaluate them before hand, and if the reality is withing 1point, then if you finnish the task, you earn the point, if not, we have to reschedule the task (with the evaluation part of the missing work)

At the end of the month, we would give your percentage of the benefits. As our revenues are yearly based, and we believe in capped investement, these points would be sliding over the course of a year.


  • if you worked 100 points this month, and the current sliding year totalize 1000points, and you never worked before, you would get 10% of the benefits of the current month.
  • if you work again 100 points on the following months, and the year totalize 2000points (Yeah, suddenly, people worked a lot :slight_smile: ), you would still get 10% of the pot.

Is it clearish?

This “liquid cooperative” is necessary as nobody works full time on it, and we need to be able to pay people and/or freelance.

Then the question is, what is the best legal for to follow this?

@oncletom if you can ask how to make a “liquid cooperative”, I’d be interested :slight_smile:
(yes it is a kind of DAO, or swarmfund or a bit like assembly.com (it is closed now https://assemblymade.com/).)


On the divide, I am not seeing business tasks…
Is there any reason for this?

Not so clear the 2nd example for me… What does the total year represent?

Below i also rewrite part of what I had written in the chat before, for public record and comment invitation.
(Thinking and writing over a revenue sharing system is also a task, though not a predicted one :-P)

Every month we meet and
1 - setup the expected tasks to be done by each one of us.
2 - attribute points to each of the tasks. This point system may be about complexity and importance. (more complexity more points, more importance, more points). Tasks shall have a maximum number of points. (say: 8 points -> 1 points per hour). If one task goes over the max number, then it should be split into more tasks. As for how the points are estimated.?
3 - We evaluate by the end of month, how many tasks were completed, and calculate our income based on that.


@pierreozoux Are you familiar with SCIC in France ?

It’s a cooperative company with three groups of stakeholders :

  • employees
  • beneficiaries (ie clients usually)
  • others, usually investors or sponsors.

It looks like what you’re looking for.

hope that helps


I second this (if not too late…).

SCIC status fits very well with an entity like indiehosters. It allows collaboration between the ones who create and maintain a service and the ones that benefit from the service.

I have some experience with this status. I was an associate from one created nearly ten years ago and I am the cofounder of another one wich started very small with no employees.