Startup Employee Equity Agreements


Is a one-year cliff with no accelerated vesting typical?

Equity Compensation Stock Options

asked May 20 '11 at 03:53
6 points
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1 Answer


tl;dr: Yes

Long Answer:
Assuming we're talking about an employee equity agreement and not a founder: the most typical arrangement for vesting is four years with a 25% cliff at one year and the rest vesting in 1/36th increments monthly over the next three years.

It's also uncommon for employees to have acceleration by default - you can sometime negotiate a single or double trigger depending on your negotiating position. If you feel strongly about getting acceleration, don't expect to get full, single trigger acceleration as that tends to create too much of a liability for the company. Far more common/reasonable is something like a single trigger with 25% acceleration and full acceleration if you're let go within 6 months of the acquisition.

answered May 20 '11 at 04:06
Alex Miller
632 points
  • Thanks very much for your answer! I am not an employee per se but a contractor and have actually have been working with the company for two-plus years, full time only the last year. I asked for vesting based on the full-time start date, which they rejected, but what concerned me more was the change of control language, which seemed to indicate that the options would terminate and no longer exist (let alone vest on an accelerated basis). Since the vesting schedule begins as of now and since i'm an at-will contractor, it's hard for me to be enthusiastic about the terms. – User7991 13 years ago

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Equity Compensation Stock Options