Startup Equity & Vesting: How to Compensate Team Members Without Money


Calculate share values by dividing the company’s value by the number of total shares available. Stocks are pieces of the company that are divided among the company’s shareholders and owners. Startups commonly allocate up to 5% of equity to compensate mentors and advisors for their help launching and growing their organizations. From this, you learn that Jim holds 1,000,000 shares, Kate holds 500,000 shares, and so on. And assuming this is the complete list, you also learn that the total number of shares amounts to 2,500,000.

Imagine that, in the seed round, the startup’s post-money valuation is $10 million and you were offered a 10% share. After a $2.5 million dollar investment, your original 10% share dilutes to 7.5% of the total outstanding equity in the firm. For formal advisors, Dan recommends compensating them with startup equity that’s worth between a 0.1 and 0.5 ownership how many shares should a startup company have? percentage. If the formal advisor is “amazing” and “will also help with the fundraising process,” he suggests going as high as 1 percent. Personal advisors may or may not get start-up equity, but generally don’t, often receiving cash compensation \ ordinary income instead. Post-money valuation is typically used when a startup is looking for more funding.

When do you plan to raise your next round of funding?

When it comes to keeping founders happy, encouraging new staff, anticipating unanticipated future changes, and preparing to take on investors, the number of shares you approve at the beginning makes the difference. It’s important to set aside a number of shares of your organization, known as an equity pool, as early as possible. Many startups set aside between 10-20% of their shares in order to have the means to incentivize employees. This amount is on top of the shares they are already awarding to co-founders, investors, and advisors. Consider this equity pool like a budget that can help you get the expertise you need to be successful while your organization is low on cash. The way that you distribute shares will vary depending on the individual being awarded.

how many shares should a startup company have?

An employee doesn’t take any huge risks working for you – and from your side, it’s easier to lay off and replace this person. De facto, you may find it difficult to let them go but de jure it’s quicker and less painful. And as a rule, first employees join the company only after it has received initial funding and grown to 5+ people. Typically a startup company has https://personal-accounting.org/cleared-synonyms-antonyms/ 10,000,000 authorized shares of Common Stock, but as the company grows, it may increase the total number of shares as it issues shares to investors and employees. The number also changes often, which makes it hard to get an exact count. You may consider that the percentage split of ownership interests is more essential than the precise number of authorized shares.

Working on expanding your business reach?

If you are planning on raising funds from venture capitalists, you will need different classes of preferred shares. These rights often include investors being distributed their share of the business first, before anyone else, including the founders. Allotted shares are shares that are selected for issuance to shareholders and investors. These shares are not distributed or issued but instead earmarked for distribution.

Enough shares to satisfy the founders, enough for a pool for employee stock options, and enough to provide for future employees and investors. 80% of the common shares go to the founders, investors, and advisors (if any), while up to 20% goes into the employee stock option pool. Primarily, the founders should have about 50%, the investors should retain 20%, and the advisors should have up to 10%. Equity is most commonly awarded via stock options or restricted stocks.

What Is Equity?

Contributions to evaluate should go well beyond skills, experience and contributions solely at the time of founding. For example, the initial idea the company was founded on has value, and whomever dreamed up the initial concept should be fairly compensated. But the concept is only part of the evaluation, as it may be worth little unless realized through execution. Stock is a general term — much like equity — that is used to describe an amount of ownership interest in your company. The company plans to grow fast so they are bound to need some seed funding.

  • Companies that raise funds from venture capital firms will typically have many classes of Preferred Shares.
  • Having millions of issued shares also allows founders to be sensitive to how people perceive the size of their option grants.
  • The more shares you own, the bigger the part of profits you’re entitled to.
  • As part of the closing process, the board of directors will authorize the issuance of a new class of preferred shares when the startup company goes to raise a series A or later round of equity financing.

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