Equity in business is the value share of an organization. It represents the ownership claim one has in any organization where the person has shares no matter the percentage.
Startup equity is like the next big thing now, everyone ranging from investors, lenders, employees even family members want a piece of the startup proverbial pie.
Startup equity has four principal groups that are most likely to get shares, founders, investors, mentors, and employees. Before this equity is shared, each person’s contribution to the startup growth must be evaluated.
Founders and co-founders of any startup have the inherent shares and they also have the veto power to distribute the shares to whom they want to.
Now, investors’ roles in a startup are very clear. These investors invest their money and in turn, get a certain percentage of the equity.
This percentage varies from startup to startup. It can however be dependent on how many investors are investing, and the value of the shares themselves.
Startup equity given to mentors is more likely due to appreciation. The mentors are business experts who have been part of the startup incubation or who have helped you with guidance and business tips as the startup grows.
Some of these mentors put in their all to see startups succeed, therefore, most founders give some percentage equity to their mentors for their relentless and selfless services.
The employees who get a percentage of startup equity are mostly ones who started with the startup and gave their all, even when in some cases their full salary was not paid.
Startup founders have to however seek a professional opinion before giving out their startup equity, and while some people want to keep the startup to themselves.
Owning your startup one hundred percent will only slow down the startup growth process, collaboration has been proven to be key for laudable developments.
Certain factors are to be considered when distributing startup equity, some of them include:
Startup Ideation Collation
This is mostly among the co-founders, each person’s contribution to the ideation process is evaluated and the startup equity is shared accordingly.
This entails that whoever brings more value and contribution to the startup goes with the bigger percentage.
In some cases where more co-founders joined due to the value they bring, there is a reevaluation of the existing startup equity shared before their joining, and adjustments are made.
Most times people who provide seed capital for startups only do so for a percentage of that startup equity.
In other cases, the seed capital is provided by the co-founders. Here, the equity is shared among them according to their contribution.
Employees who join the startup at their bootstrapping stage are more likely to get equity too. To compensate for associated risks of working with the startup and in other times reduced salary.
This protects the startup, as the vesting schedule regulates how co-founders deal with their part of the startup equity.
It also helps in keeping the greater part of the startup shares in the startup as it prevents a co-founder from leaving seeing as co-founders usually have huge percentages of the startup equity.
Finally, as a startup founder don’t be sentimental about giving out startup equity. It’s a man-eat-man world out there, some people are not loyal, be factual and use professional help. So if things go amiss it can also be treated professionally.
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