Startup Equity 101 Primer for Employees

, Negotiation Coach for the Startup Tribe

This class is ideal for first-time startup employees, those contemplating joining a startup, or solo entrepreneurs considering hiring their first employees

Let me give you a more specific example. Let's say you are a startup employee, and you received your job offer from an awesome tech startup. 

As part of your compensation, you receive company stock grants or options. Along with your compensation package came a big document with a bunch of legalese that makes your head spin. 

You can't help but wonder, what does it all mean? 

You may also have these questions: 

  • What is the value of my equity? 
  • When can I turn it into money I can put in my pocket? 
  • What is a vesting schedule, and why should I care? 
  • What is dilution, and how does it impact the value of my equity? 
  • What is a capitalization table, and can I see it? 
  • What can I ask for when I negotiate my equity compensation? 
  • What if I can change jobs? What can I do with my equity then? 

If you have these questions, you are not alone. For you, I've gathered the best insights from leading venture capitalists such as Fred Wilson, Andy Payne, and Brad Feld. I've consulted leading startup lawyers for best practices in negotiating startup equity. 

I then organized all the best knowledge into a class to help answer these questions. By the end of this class, you'll know the basic essentials of startup equity. My goal is to help you better understand the nuts and bolts of startup equity so that you can confidently negotiate for your worth in the workplace. 

And to address the head-spinning legalese, startup lawyer Ekaterina Mouratova will co-teach and answer your legal and tax-related questions. 

There is no prerequisite for the course, but these are great reads on the topic. 

Here is Ekaterina's bio: 

Ekaterina Mouratova
 is a founder of The Law Firm of Ekaterina Mouratova, PLLC. She focuses her practice on general business and corporate law, securities regulations, intellectual property, and immigration matters. Having comprehensive education both in civil and common law systems and precise understanding of multi-cultural practices allows Ms. Mouratova to successfully represent domestic and international clients.

Passionate about the law and very dedicated to her profession, Ekaterina is a frequent speaker at seminars and author of multiple publications on business law. She is an active member of the New York State Bar Association, American Bar Association, and a pro bono attorney at the New York City Bar Association the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (an organization that provides mid- and low-income entrepreneurs with free legal services in their business matters).

In 2013 Ms. Mouratova authored and published a book – Business Law for Entrepreneurs. A Legal Guide to Doing Business in the United States. This book is a useful assistant to entrepreneurs, business owners, managers, and other professionals on every stage of their business development, from the start-up to the further functioning of the company. By publishing this book Ekaterina aimed to give access to the vital legal information to a wider audience than any particular client who benefits from a legal consultation. She wrote this book to provide support and guidance to the starting entrepreneurs, as well as to the owners of the established companies.

Not to worry if you're not good with numbers or calculations. Understanding the value of equity requires only basic math skills and common sense.
  • Startup Equity Primer 101 for Employees


    Coming soon...

    In this class, you'll learn 

    • difference between common and preferred stock
    • how a vesting schedule works 
    • tax implication of equity ownership 
    • how fundraising can result in dilution 
    • impact of company acquisition or IPO on employee equity
    • what an employee can ask for when negotiating equity 

    As a class, we'll put together a simple capitalization table line-by-line and walk through different scenarios that have material impact on the value of equity. Capitalization tables are used to record and track ownership in a company. 


    Coming Soon...

Jamie Lee

Negotiation Coach for the Startup Tribe

Jamie Lee first learned about equity while tracking blue chip stocks trading in Asian equity markets as a hedge fund analyst. She then got her startup chops as an MBA analyst intern at Golden Seeds, an angel investment fund that invests in women-led startups, and as Operations Director at Tipping Point Partners, an institutional startup co-founder. She is a Girls in Tech NYC chapter treasurer and event organizer. 

She's been a frequent speaker on the topic of employee equity compensation, with Girls in Tech, wimlink, Docracy, and Digital District. She runs, blogs, and tries to learn something new every day. 

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