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Rethinking Founder Vesting

K9 Ventures

One of these norms is how founder vesting and employee vesting works. I won’t get into employee vesting today as that has much more to consider than I have time to cover in this short post today. Here is a good summary post from Cooley GO on Founder Vesting. Founders Opinion founder vesting Howard Hartenbaum norms

6-year vesting

Venture Hacks

Every team member of AngelList is on a 6-year vesting schedule. Everyone asks whether they get more equity to make up for the longer vesting schedule. If you’re interested in a 6-year vesting schedule, AngelList is hiring engineers and designers. Including the founders. And we want everyone to stick around for a long time.

Equity basics: vesting, cliffs, acceleration, and exits

The Startup Toolkit

false As a cheatsheet, the “normal” equity structure is: Founder terms: 4 year vesting, 1 year cliff, for everyone, including you. Hooray.

Founder Agreements – Vesting, Vesting and more Vesting

High Contrast

To paraphrase the famous line from The Graduate “I have one word for you “vesting.’”. Time based vesting is often a good idea. 

The best vesting schedule

High Contrast

There is no such thing as the best or optimal vesting schedule in a startup. That doesn’t mean current vesting schedules are really good but it does mean that many of the so-called best alternatives are not much better. Did the vesting schedule in a startup help or hurt returns for various types of equity holders?

Curator: Amazon Culture Shock, Work Wisdom, Vesting Schedules, Email Snooze

YFS Magazine

Here’s our weekly link roundup of small business buzz, musings and muchness. curation of the best small business talk around the web.

Legal Basics: Vesting

VC Ready Blog

Vesting” occurs when the restrictions lapse and the equity goes from “unvested” to “vested” (i.e. Most of the time, the restrictions provide that the recipient forfeits the equity if the conditions to vesting are not satisfied. from restricted to unrestricted).

A Different Approach to Refreshing Stock Option Grants

Feld Thoughts

Assume you hire someone and grant them 10,000 options with monthly vesting of four years with a one year cliff. That means that after one year, they get 25% of their options and then start vesting the remaining options monthly at a rate of 1/48 (208.3 Entrepreneurship equity grants stock options vestingLet me give an example.

Checklist For Launching A Startup

Ask The VC

It’s summarized at If I Launched A Startup   and includes stuff on incorporation, founders stock, vesting, NDAs, and some other useful things. Company Creation incorporation launch nda vestingI ran across a dynamite set of posts for anyone launching a startup. If you are launching a startup, go check it out.

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The Importance of Vesting Schedules for the Founders

Scott Edward Walker

One of the biggest mistakes I see startups make is failing to set-up vesting schedules for the founders.

Section 83 and Stock Subject To Vesting

Recent Buzzes - VC Experts, Inc.

Section 83(a) of the Internal Revenue Code states that if "property" is issued " in connection with the performance of services," the difference between the "fair value" of, and the amount paid by the recipient for, the property–usually stock– is taxable to the recipient (and deductible by the corporation) as additional compensation

“A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket”

Chris Dixon

Nikola Tesla  predicted  the development internet-connected smartphones back in 1926: From the inception of the wireless system, I saw that this new art of applied electricity would be of greater benefit to the human race than any other scientific discovery, for it virtually eliminates distance. 

Change of Control Vesting Acceleration


I am a big fan of change of control option vesting acceleration, particularly for the executive team.  I am probably not in the majority of VCs on this topic.    Quick background: 1. Normally employee options vest over 4 years, with 25% vesting after year 1 and then the balance pro rata (monthly or quarterly) over the remaining 3 years. 2.

How to Protect Your Startup Founder’s Shares

Startup Professionals Musings

These shares are allocated and committed, but not really issued and owned (vested) until later. Vesting with no cliff. Marty Zwilling.

The “I-just-got-bought-by-a-big-company” survival guide

Scott Weiss

So here was the big dilemma: I had signed up for 24 months of re-vesting my founder’s shares that wouldn’t begin until the deal was closed and it already seemed like a paint-drying eternity. I was pretty sure that I wasn’t cut out for a big company but I just couldn’t spend the next two years watching the clock or I’d spiral into insanity.

Legal Checklist for Startups

Scott Edward Walker

Set-up vesting schedules for the founders (see post here ) and file 83(b) elections with the IRS (see #3 here ). 4. 

First Round Funding Terms and Founder Vesting

Both Sides of the Table

This is part of my ongoing series “Pitching a VC“ There’s a great meme developing this morning on the need to simplify funding terms and documents. The meme was kicked off by Chris Dixon with this post saying that term sheets need to be simplified and align investor / founder interests. That prompted Fred Wilson’s blog [.].

First Round Funding Terms and Founder Vesting

Both Sides of the Table

One very important item from Chris’s original post that wasn’t picked up by Fred or Brad is founder vesting. totally agree.

Avoid the 50/50 co-founder model - here's why

Even with vesting (which I highly recommend), you are making a big commitment which will still be a hassle if it doesn’t work out. The outcome?

The Importance of Vesting Schedules – Part 2

Scott Edward Walker

“I didn’t even know what a vesting schedule was… [and] that mistake probably cost me billions of dollars.”

What is the best way to divide up ownership in a startup?

Grasshopper Herder

Finding Co-Founders Investment co-founders equity vesting scheduleWhen considering this issue, many people will focus on incentivizing the founders as well as issues of equality and equity. would recommend a deep understanding how roles and responsibilities will be divided prior to discussing the equity split.

Is Dead Equity Crippling Your Company?


They fail to include vesting terms (i.e., It is more common that startups include vesting terms for their non-founding hires. 

8 Ways To Maximize The Value Of Your Startup Stock

Startup Professionals Musings

This is the purpose of a vesting schedule, which issues allocated stock over time. Key founder vesting should have no cliff. In the U.S.,

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How To Launch a Startup and Avoid Ending-up in Jail

Scott Edward Walker

Introduction I love working with startups – and trying to protect founders and watch their backs.  Potential Criminal Violations Employment Laws. 

Ten rules for better founding teams

High Contrast

Vesting. With the exceptions of the investor and certain types of advisor roles as discussed in my previous post , everyone else on the founding team should vest. Here are my thoughts on the best vesting schedule for founders.). Consider a vesting cliff. Standard founder agreements don’t have vesting cliffs for founders.

Founder’s Stock Is Gold, If You Know The Rules

Startup Professionals Musings

These shares are allocated and committed, but not really issued and owned (vested) until later. Vesting with no cliff. Marty Zwilling.

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Anonymous donor helps provide bulletproof vests for deputies

Winston-Salem Journal State/Region News

Share and option vesting

Angel Blog

Even though there is reasonable agreement on the optimum magnitudes of equity ownership, there is still discussion on the optimum vesting formula Widespread employee ownership is still a relatively new concept. Even as recently as the 1980's, there was still debate on the degree to which employee equity ownership affected share price.

FBI: Tennessee shooter was wearing vest that allowed him to carry extra gun ammunition

Winston-Salem Journal State/Region News

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — FBI: Tennessee shooter was wearing vest that allowed him to carry extra gun ammunition

How Often Do Employees Of VC-backed Startups Get Stock Options?

Ask The VC

Employees should expect these grants to vest over time (usually four years) and have a one year cliff (which means the person has to be employed for a year to have any of the options vest.). Question: How often do venture-backed start-up employees (let’s say non-executives) get stock option grants? Never?

4 Deadly Legal Mistakes That Startups Make

Scott Edward Walker

Vesting Restrictions.  The first deadly mistake relates to vesting restrictions.  Below is a longer, more comprehensive version.

China Vesting Issues Update on China Direct Industries, Inc.

EIN News

China Vesting researches 500 of the top U.S. to Chinese public companies listed in the United States, today announced that is has issued an. Listed Chinese Public Companies and tracks the. network consists of Chinese officials, investment bankers, venture capitalists, scholars, academics and most importantly entrepreneurs that

Is Dead Equity Crippling Your Company?

Noam Wasserman

They fail to include vesting terms (i.e., It is more common that startups include vesting terms for their non-founding hires. 

Founder’s Stock Is Gold, If You Know The Rules


These shares are allocated and committed, but not really issued and owned (vested) until later. Vesting with no cliff.

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AngelList new employee reading list

Venture Hacks

6-year vesting. I do the onboarding for all new AngelList team members. Part of it is asking them to read the following (many candidates have read these before they even come in for an interview). Culture. Startups are here to save the world. Things we care about at AngelList. Doing the wrong things the right way. Execution. 1-man startups.

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If I Launched a Startup

The Startup Lawyer

Hell Yes. (9) Vesting Schedule for Founders Shares: 4 years with a One Year Cliff. (10) Consideration for Founders Shares: Cash & IP. (11) Handling of “Lost Founders&# : Lock Down the IP (then Wish Them Well).

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Robots in the Spotlight at Rackspace


San Antonio Alamo Regional Competition FIRST FTC Rackspace Robotics

Anatomy of a Term Sheet: Vesting of Founders’ Stock

VC Ready Blog

Investors often want at least a portion of the stock owned by each founder of a company to be subject to vesting and a corresponding company buyback right if the founder ceases to be employed by the company within a certain period of time after a financing (the “vesting period”).

Wenger: Presenting Option Grants to Boards

Ask The VC

Special vesting considerations that differ from the plan. For refresh grants: how many options does the employee already have and how far are those vested? Today’s VC post of the day is from Albert Wenger (USV) and titled  Presenting Option Grants to Boards. Spreadsheet data: Employee name. Title/role at company. Context data.

Equity for Early Employees in Early Stage Startups


Unlike the founders, the employees have to wait until their grants vest, working at a company no longer of their choosing for two years.