How much $ have you made in stock options at your startups?
I feel like I might be in the minority here but I’ve never made any money on stock options. I’m talking real money that has hit my bank account. In fact, on paper I’m actually in the negative $10,000. My first startup was acquired and I ended up with what was essentially meaningless stock, and I actually had to pay to exercise some stock from my past company which just had a major down round
I think stock options at startups are one of this industry’s dirty little secrets. Founders and maybe a few early employees make some money, but in the majority of cases stock ends up being worthless. Founders have a real upper hand here over employees. Even vesting agreements are starting to look ridiculous with 15% of your stock options becoming available for you to purchase after a 1 year cliff. Have I mentioned these ludicrous exercise rules? Pay your strike price within 3 months of leaving a startup or lose everything? Talk about the odds being stacked against you. Who has $100k lying around to exercise all these stock options that might be worth nothing one day? Yet another example of founders and investors not having employees best interests in mind.
Have you made anything on your stock options at a startup? Knowing what you know now, do you value salary or equity significantly more?