How Many Shares Should My Startup Authorize


Compensation data for Facebook, Uber, Stripe and Twitter based on salaries shared on Still, few people have heard of these stories from friends and assume equity upsides are limited to either those in Silicon Valley, or to executives. Whatever your opinion, it pays to understand the implications of different preference shares. If you’re raising money, think hard before accepting a more punitive preference share in order to justify a higher valuation for your startup. Dilution is one of the main risks of relying on external capital to build profitable businesses, leaving the founding team with little ownership of the business.

  • In the example above, suppose the company started with 10 million shares, and over three rounds and several option pools ended up with 15 million total shares.
  • If you were then to attempt to lure a developer with a grant of options totaling, say, 1%, this would amount to 10 shares and, in addition, take up 5% of your pool.
  • It may even make sense to give all investors, from day one, a 1x non-participating preference share.
  • Spirig says that startups should really give an exercise window of at least five years, to allow employees the best chance of being able to get value out of their stock options.
  • Until then, it’s quite possible to avoid the hassle and expense of premature amendment filing by anticipating the needs of your likely recipients and leaving yourself enough wiggle room.

This approach ensures upside if the stock goes up – but also downside if it goes down. All of the success stories can be attributed to meaningful equity offers and the equity value of the companies skyrocketing. Both Doordash and Databricks have increased their company valuation by more than 30x in the past 2.5 years – and even with dilution, equity holders saw probably 20x or more in gains. Valuations for Snap and Airbnb have risen by 4-6x in the past two years. To that end, these agreements have been signed by hundreds of investors, including both angels and VCs, and have accounted for many millions of dollars of investment.

How Many Shares Should My Startup Authorize when Forming?

Discounted cash flow is a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of an investment opportunity. The term mergers and acquisitions (M&A) refers to the consolidation of companies or their major assets through financial transactions between companies. The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace. David Kindness is a Certified Public Accountant and an expert in the fields of financial accounting, corporate and individual tax planning and preparation, and investing and retirement planning. David has helped thousands of clients improve their accounting and financial systems, create budgets, and minimize their taxes. If you’re not mentally prepared to handle this, the chances of you giving up grow rapidly.

According to Fundera, equipment costs for startups can range anywhere from $10,000 to $125,000. Aside from getting your equipment, you’d also need to professionally set up your office, carry out your daily operations that will require money, amongst other things. You need money to set up and get going at the company’s start. Even if you decide to bootstrap and use your resources at the start, there comes the point where you may need external funding.


A cap table is the place of record for the equity-based transactions of a company. It includes ownership stakes, types of shares, and option pools. You set the number of authorized shares at 15 million, award each of you 1 million, then issue the remaining 10 million in your IPO later. If you’d only authorized 5 million shares, Cooley Go says, issuing more would require board and stockholder votes, plus paperwork with your state of incorporation. If all goes well with the startup, your stock options will have greatly increased in value from the strike price by the time you’re able to turn them into real shares.

  • Vesting refers to in what installments you’ll “get” the equity.
  • If your startup were a Netflix series, the cap table would be the credits rolling at the end of each episode.
  • A cap table is a guiding source of truth for your business, giving you a snapshot of ownership stake, stock options, and who should be involved in critical business decisions.
  • This is due to the tendency that senior employees in the company may prefer to own some stake in the company as it develops.
  • Want to keep your cap table organized and automatically updated?

And what’s due to shareholders will depend on the type of liquidity preference they have . To ensure you are performing your fiduciary duty as the company’s representative and CEO, you should always get proper legal advice. If you haven’t set up a company before, you may not have thought about share types or legal documents. Having sat on both sides of the table, as a founder and investor, here are some basics that I feel every new entrepreneur should be familiar with. The information below does not constitute legal advice and represents the views and opinions of the author, James Green only. Nothing expressed here should be construed as the view or opinion of DQventures, or as legal advice of any kind.


Bottom line, in the long run this equality failed to motivate the company to growth, with 1 partner sharing less than the other 2. Companies seek equity financing from investors to finance short or long-term needs by selling an ownership stake in the form of shares. The big problem with this approach—and company founders will certainly agree here—is that it doesn’t reflect the company’s future potential for generating sales, profits, and return on investment. What’s more, the cost-to-duplicate approach doesn’t capture intangible assets, like brand value, that the venture might possess even at an early stage of development. Because it generally underestimates the venture’s worth, it’s often used as a “lowball” estimate of company value. The company’s physical infrastructure and equipment may only be a small component of the actual net worth when relationships and intellectual capital form the basis of the firm.

Berkshire dumps shares in TSMC, banks; increases Apple stake – Reuters

Berkshire dumps shares in TSMC, banks; increases Apple stake.

Posted: Wed, 15 Feb 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Limited liability means that the most you could lose is the value of your stocks, never more. FanDuel was a seemingly rocketing unicorn, where founders and several employees were millionaires on paper. However, after a failed merger with competitor DraftKings, bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair acquired FanDuel for $465 million. Lawsuits are still in progress, but employees are likely to see nothing of the sale.

The above jobs score at least 10/12 on The Pragmatic Engineer Test. Browse more senior engineer and engineering leadership roles with great engineering cultures, or add your own on The Pragmatic Engineer Job board and apply to join The Pragmatic Engineer Talent Collective. If you joined the “next and better Uber”, you’d have gotten nothing. Sidecar was the first “true” ridesharing company, connecting riders with drivers who did not have to be black car drivers. Still, despite innovating ahead, the company shut down a few years later. Contribution limits curb how much of your salary you can contribute.


Zenefits went from a $4.5B How many shares are in a startup company to laying off 45% of people in less than two years in 2017. Bird laid off a third of employees when COVID hit, and demand for scooters dried up overnight. Full-value plans would pay out the full stock value on vesting. Taking the previous example, you’d be paid out $150 in cash when the vesting period ends. I benefitted quite a bit from ESPPs both at Microsoft and at Uber. Both companies had a generous program with offers to buy stock 15% below the fair market value and contribution limits of about $20,000 per year.

2023-02-21T14:39:38+00:00Categories: Bookkeeping|