Stock Option Plan Rule of Thumb No. 1

Stock Option Rule of Thumb from The Startup Garage
Share This

This article was contributed by William W Eigner, Esq. & Brian Headman of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP.  

Reserve 10-20% Of Your Company’s Outstanding Equity For A Stock Option Plan

Equity incentives are a major form of compensation for most emerging growth and technology companies. Without them, most start-ups cannot afford critical labor, let alone a board of directors or advisors. It is critical for a start-up to consider this reality and reserve 10-20% of its outstanding equity for a stock option plan. The exact percentage is often determined on a case-by case basis. The final figure will depend on the client’s situation, including the number of employees of the company and the amount of capital that it hopes to eventually raise.

Whatever the percentage, it pays to plan ahead. Most sophisticated investors will require a stock option pool upon investment, and a company that fails to reserve a sufficient amount of equity up-front runs the risk of being forced to establish a pool at a later date that may dilute the founders’ ownership.

Check back next Monday, September 24, for Rule of Thumb No. 2: Issue Options According To Value Added And Risk Taken.


Whether you have a question about Equity Incentives, or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!
This entry was posted in Legal & Accounting, Startup Team Building and tagged , , on by .

About Tyler Jensen

I work with entrepreneurs who are looking to attract investment and get out of the "Garage". I am passionate about helping entrepreneurs start companies that matter. I helped launch over 100 Companies, Non-Profits and Social Enterprises. I consider myself a serial entrepreneur, startup coach & trusted advisor. * Launching New Companies (For Profit, Non-Profit and Social Enterprise) * Expert Business Plan Writer * Extensive Network of Business Relationships focused on Launch & Rapid Growth of New Companies * Startup, Growth, Marketing, Technology, Web, Business Systems * Trusted Advisor to CEO’s & Entrepreneurs * Capital Raising Strategy Development * Startup Team Development The first company I started and sold is VAVi Sport & Social Club which grew to over 25,000 members in six years, was recognized as San Diego’s 30th fastest growing private company in 2006 by the San Diego Business Journal and 32nd fastest in 2007, and sold for over 25X the capital investment.