Head of Sales/BD/Marketing Equity Share for Prefunded Startup?


I'm considering joining a great team/early startup.
Founder A engineer / mba, brought the vision.
Founder B phd relevant to product
C head of Product - person poached from another company very relevant.
D head of Sales/Marketing - ME. similar experience as A but didn't put in the 1.5 yr and has bit more startup experience in building profitable ventures.

A&B worked for 1.5 yr ft and developed a unique patented technology, they have 1 interested client and no funding. They need clients and traction before they get funding so my role with my industry contacts and experience will do that. I can even make quite a few investor introductions. Without me or my role, they are stuck. (Unless they get more friends/family round for integration work w that one client).

What should I get? :
-equity share (options vs stocks?) pre A funding
-discuss future post A salary?

Marketing Sales Compensation

asked Aug 31 '11 at 12:37
11 points
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2 Answers


I would negotiate a performance-based compensation pacakge which included
-Base compensation
-Performance bonuses for achieve specific goals including but not limited to RndA funding
-Options to convert defined percentage of compensation to stock.

While it would be tempting to perscribe termendous value simply for joining the team, I believe it would be in everyones interest to focus on performance rather than compensation. If there is performance there will be fruits to share. Proposing an agreement that focuses on performance will communicate your confidence in your skills, the teams ability and your shared sucess.

answered Sep 2 '11 at 06:37
Joseph Barisonzi
12,141 points
  • +1: pay-for-performance is how true performers prefer to get paid; or even propose to get paid! Performance-based compensation scares away B and C players. – Frenchie 12 years ago


Great question. I believe that when someone joins a start-up, or helps others who have start-up ideas, they should have an opportunity to be paid for their expertise a little up front. If the start-up didn't need the additional SME, they wouldn't be looking for it. To put all your reward in future results does not allow you to relax and perform at your best, If one gets "enough" to take their mind off survival, and allows them to target their time, talent and treasure on results alone, they usually perform better. It also seems that a funding condition in the start-up that does not allow the team members some compensation at the outset may be underfunded to begin with. I also agree that asking for the entire program in salary takes away from your commitment to the long term performance of the group; so mix in some up-front or immediate compensation and place the higher share on your performance results for the company / team.

answered Jan 31 '12 at 02:40
Larry Nitardy
11 points

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