Friday, February 25, 2011

How much equity to give

Well thought list of things to consider when doling out equity in a startup:

* How early stage is the startup? Typically, the earlier the greater
equity %
* Do you already have other individuals who are compensated with
equity? If yes, then you know your maximum. VP of sales generally
would get less than the CMO or any other 'C' level executive.
* If you have investors, what do they think?
* How much is left in the options pool? And how many other hires would
you need to make before the next finance round?
* What does your lawyer/accountant think?
* Did you ask the candidate what their expectation is? If you have
several candidates you can compare expectations? Sometimes this can be
a double edge sword but you will get insight into the person's
mindset. And, a VP of sales should be able to handle such direct
* How crucial will this person be? And how unique are they?
* Will they be getting salary in addition to equity compensation?
Getting paid often reduces equity awards.
* Where is the startup located? Europe is different than the U.S. and
even Silicon Valley differs from NY's Silicon Alley.
* What is your current vesting schedule? Longer schedules are
sometimes offset by a larger payout
* Have you considered alternatives to equity such as bonuses, revenue
share, etc.