๐Ÿ“ˆ Equity 101 Resources

Welcome to Equity 101 ๐Ÿ’ธ

In the world of high-growth startups, equity can be a significant portion of the overall value you receive in a remuneration package - and if you're fortunate, can create a life-changing amount of personal wealth through allowing early joiners to own a portion of the company.

However, correctly assessing the current value of equity options can be pretty confusing - as can comparing the value of equity between different companies, predicting the future value of that equity, and understanding the intricacies of how / when / at what cost they can be exercised.

This is a collation of resources designed to help you understand what equity is, understand its value and make good decisions about it (from a personal or a founder point of view).

If you have more resources we've missed, or suggestions you'd like to add, feel free to DM Lucy Wark on LinkedIn and we can add them in.


A few perspectives on equity ๐Ÿค”

Personally I work out a low med high case for it in 3-5-7 years and then spread it on top of my base pay as โ€œequivalent incomeโ€ and use that to weight my risk vs reward calc
โ€œEquity doesnโ€™t pay for nappiesโ€ best advice I was ever given on whether to join a start up
My view is that you should cover your basic lifestyle and a little bit more with your base salary and view equity - if you're not an exec - as a bonus that you're working towards. You know the chances of a return are low, so make sure any trade off on base salary vs equity manages that risk. Also, consider that it's easier to get an increase in base salary vs equity.
Remember that startup valuations you see in press coverage - especially at early stages - are not 'true' valuations. They're arrived at through supply and demand - basically, investors and founders gauging how many people want to invest and how much money they'd like to deploy, relative to how much money the founders want to raise, and how much of the company they're willing to sell off in exchange for that money. So the valuation is the number that they use to solve for that - most of the time, the company may be pre-product, pre-revenue, or pre-profitability, and its paper valuation makes little sense compared to its mature peers in the public markets. As companies mature, they start to be compared more to their peers in the public markets, and their valuations start to move closer to 'reality' - however, a lot of hot startups
In an early stage startup, don't treat equity options as a one-to-one swap for cash (for a few reasons - they're not liquid, you may need to pay to exercise them, there is substantial risk attached as many startups run out of funding before they achieve product market fit / scale / achieve a liquidity event, and of course, you can actually invest or compound that cash today). As a rule of thumb, I often use a ratio of 3-4 to 1 (i.e. equating 3-4 dollars of paper equity options to 1 dollar of cash). As companies mature past Series B / C and beyond, you might compress that down, or even move to a 1 to 1 ratio, or a ratio which favours the equity, if you have high confidence in the future growth of its value.

Highly recommended resources ๐Ÿ‘

Designed for employees

Designed for founders & managers

Useful for both

People you can reach out to

Complete and Continue