Average salary of a seed stage funded founder?


Assuming a startup raised a round smaller than $500K, what should the founder's salary be? The startup is located in San Francisco, so the cost of living is pretty high. Would angel investors be okay with the founder's salary being $90K to $100K?

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asked May 22 '14 at 12:57
Sylvia Rubio
12 points
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1 Answer


That seems crazy to me, spending a fifth of your runway on payroll to yourself. No way. Market rates are not appropriate for a founder salary on a seed round. If you want to pay yourself significantly over cost of living, I would think it sends a signal to investors that you're not committed.

As a founder, you're betting on the long-term success of your company by sacrificing the opportunity to earn what you could as an employee, and use those funds (whether saved or from an investor) to increase the chances of success and operational runway of your venture.

TheNextWeb has some really good recent coverage of founder salaries, with data by Compass.co:

answered May 23 '14 at 04:33
Jay Neely
6,050 points
  • +1 ... $90K to $100K would show that the founder isn't in it for the long haul. A giant red flag for angel investors. – Nishank Khanna 10 years ago

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