What should I expect for compensation in an "equity for compensation" deal?


Similar to this question: Amount of vesting equity for #3-#4 employee? But it seems to discuss what equity paid developers should expect. If I am a developer that is unpaid, what would be a reasonable percentage of the stock to expect for doing software development? What would be a reasonable vesting period?

Equity Stock Options

asked Sep 6 '11 at 00:53
Abe Miessler
264 points
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2 Answers


IMHO if you're unpaid, then you are a founder.

  • If there are 2 co-founders, then 50%/50% of the pre-investment shares, with a 2-5 year vesting period.
  • If there are 3 co-founders, then 1/3 - 1/3 - 1/3 of the pre-investment shares, with a 2-5 year vesting period.

See also Joel Spolsky's answer about founders & shares.

answered Sep 6 '11 at 03:28
Jesper Mortensen
15,292 points


I think you should really consider reading this: Forming a new software startup, how do I allocate ownership fairly? His point is that people get paid for their work. If the person doing the work is not getting paid in cash (i.e., no salary) then they get paid in an IOU (i.e., debt). To try to balance out who is working harder and, thus deserves more equity, is a way to create resentment and will, eventually, destroy an otherwise solid business.

answered Sep 6 '11 at 11:56
1,194 points

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Equity Stock Options