I interviewed for a NYC startup who told me their perks are free groceries from an online grocer, an office kitchen with nice appliances, and he has no problem with me bringing a sleeping bag to the office (and save a fortune on rent while living in midtown). He said its probably an option if you are single(he said don't tell me though for obvious reasons). Each office is a 10x10 room that can be closed off for privacy.
There is also a free gym membership where a shower is available, a new laptop under $1000, and 20 free iTunes every week. The salary offer was 30K with equity. This is something I would be interested in doing, especially since I could crash in the office. I think it's a great idea because I can spend many uninterrupted hours working. I hated commuting home after a long day.
I notice though that some startups offer some amazing perks like free meals created by chefs and massages. There is nothing even close to that in the average corporate job.
Let me preface this by saying, "Don't take advice from an online forum comment when it comes to your job or your career."
Equity, while it may sound very attractive on the surface, it's essentially worthless in most cases. First off, you would be joining a private company, which means even if, emphasis on "if", your share in equity were to rise in value, it will be extremely difficult to liquidate. If you try buying groceries with equity, you will be thrown out. Start-up millionaires and billionaires are outliers. The odds of your start-up being the next Google or Facebook is slim to none.
Having said that, the failure rate of startups are extremely high. If you're serious about taking this job you have to understand and internalize that. There is a likelihood that you will work extremely hard and have the startup bust. If you are going to take equity you have to believe in the company's team and mission. Without that belief you are setting yourself up for disaster.
Secondly 30K + equity is very little to live off of, especially in NYC, where the cost of living is higher than most major metros in the US. You need to have your finances in order before even thinking about accepting that offer. You need to keep your personal burn rate as low as you can and for as long as you can. If you look at your personal burn rate and 30K is enough it might be possible.
I'm going off my gut and am going assume that you are a single male out of college. Your social life will take a serious hit, as start-ups are time intensive. Dating will be hard with out money and time. You also need to factor that in as well. Which is why I'm writing this response.
I know that this doesn't answer your question regarding "what are some start-up perks?" but before you start thinking about perks, I implore to you to make a calculated and informed decision as to where you want to go and what you want to do in life.
How about a nice polo T-shirt with a start-up logo and occasional beer on the house? That's how much I'm offering :)...
... No but joked aside, where I'm going with this is, it really depends. Some start-up's might have ample funds from investors or their own cash flows so they can afford nice goodies such as chef prepared meals, free snack and soda vending machines everywhere etc., while some might be completely broke and heavily bootstrapped like mine, where people work for equity.
I would also like to offer all that nice stuff to my team-mates, but those things take time and again lot of cash. So if the start-up your thinking to join offers nice perks already and the idea is good, you can only imagine what kind of perks to expect in few years time if the business really picks up.
Seems my take on this situation is a lot different to everyone else's. He's offering free gym, free acommodation, free shower, free use of kitchen with nice appliances, a laptop under a $1000. Am I the only one who sees these as perks that 98% of other startups wouldn't even dream of offering.
If I were you I'd make a comparison. How much would you else-wise have to pay in rent, electricity, utilities like internet and water and then transportation to and from work everyday if you decided to rent a one bedroom apartment near your work? I reckon you're easily saving a couple of thousand a month in total at least. Times 12, well that's $24,000 potentially more you'd have to otherwise pay.
So if you were on a $60k salary instead, then factor in the things like groceries and bills you'd have to pay out of that, you'll end up worse off. One thing that makes me hessitant is living at work, the thought of that scares me a little.
30k for a salary is pretty low, but the pros outweigh the cons. Of course this is just my opinion on the situation, but I hope I helped put some things into retrospect for you.
I have no problem with sleeping in the office (I once lived in my car in the parking lot at work for 6 months, though I must say that you will probably not be able to do it indefinitely), but I think 30k is a bit low.