I am talking to a startup which offered me stock options. When translating the equity share into $$ value:
1- should I use the preferred share price or FMV?
2- how should I read the preferred share value?
3- when the company does not disclose their number of outstanding shares, how should I interpret this?
4- if I get equity worth of say X dollars from another public company, how much of that should the startup offer match on paper at least?
If not, then your TC = base salary + annual bonus (if any). The rest has zero value.
For the paper money, we can’t really answer how much because it varies a lot based on the stage. Seed? Series A, B, etc. if it’s an early stage startup you don’t want to negotiate based on a number of shares or a dollar amount. You want to negotiate on the percentage of ownership (e.g. 0.5%, 0.2%, etc). Passed series A then yeah, the more monopoly money you get, the better. To keep things very simple, cut that number by at least 3-4 to get closer to real net amount you may get at the end (e.g. $6 million = $1.5). If that startup becomes a unicorn, like Uber or FB, expect to make close to the original amount if you joined late (minus taxes) and probably double, triple if you joined early (because of refreshers and price hike). Employee number 20 would reach 10 millions while employee 40 would get 5 millions. It goes down extremely fast, timing is everything. Then after the IPO, yes your stocks can triple or get split by half like lyft, we can’t predict the future.