Startup and Salary in a startup


I have been approached by a startup company in France (sorry for my English!) which says it wants me.

I'm currently working in the finance industry and being paid around 50K Euros a year, plus several other advantages including approx. 2K for buying food at noon, and a 'bonus' depending of the growth of the company (approx. 2 to 3K). So Total is around 54K.

The startup can offer me 48k, without any compensation.

I think the project might be challenging, with a better team, and the financial state of the company looks OK to me.

However, the major downside is a serious loss of money for me.

I've spoke with the CTO which says he cannot 'spend' more this year for me but expects to see more cash flow next year.

Any Ideas how I could try to negociate a little more on my salary ?

I thought about things but i'm not sure if it's a good idea:

  • asking for stock options
  • asking for a 'bonus' of 2K
  • trying to negotiate an increase of salary within a year
  • asking for a 2K compensation for food, which might be 'cheaper' for them because of lower taxes for this kind of budget

Thank you in advance for your advices and comments ;)



asked May 29 '13 at 18:56
16 points
  • What do you mean when you say "The startup can offer me 48k, without any compensation"? – Frenchie 11 years ago
  • I mean 48K is the base salary, all included without nothing else. So my actual salary is 54K, and the one offered by the startup company is 48K. – Carmellose 11 years ago
  • The difference between the offered €48k and your current compensation is tiny, so if this is a "better" opportunity for you (however you define that), then go for it. Many people would trade a few €k for a better job. – Steve Jones 11 years ago
  • I think that a salary of 48K is pretty darn good for a startup! Usually people don't join startups because of the salary but for the challenge. If you're nitpicking about a few thousand euro then you still have a very corporate mindset IMO. FYI: when you're an entrepreneur, the last kind of person you want on your team is an employee who's complaining about a few nickels and dimes. – Frenchie 11 years ago
  • @frenchie: I see your point about having "a corporate mindset", however, and OTOH, as an senior engineer I trust my skills and commitment in projects so I feel I don't want to 'discount myself'. The city I live in is damn expensive (Paris), and I'm not in my 20's any more, so I just don't think I'm being that greedy on salary. Most of all, there is no guarantee my salary will increase in the up coming years, so if you look at the big picture maybe its OK to ask oneself this question. – Carmellose 11 years ago
  • if you're taking a downgrade to your paycheck, you should be compensated by equity or else: why are you doing this? and if not, you can find startups which will give you said equity. you're taking a 72k euro hit per year, and for what? so that other people will benefit on top of you? the EXCEPTION IS: you don't have much experience and doing this startup will increase your salary at your next position. – Itai Sagi 11 years ago
  • @ItaiSagi: it's not a 72K hit, it's a 7K hit. – Frenchie 11 years ago
  • @frenchie ahh yes, my bad, I'm used to how salaries are being treated here, and they're monthly. :) 7k euro is still nothing to sneeze at – Itai Sagi 11 years ago

1 Answer


Well first of all budget your 48K. Can you still live comfortably with your current expenses?
Assuming you can live comfortably, then the good things about joining a startup is you get a shot at a great role that can help catapult your career.

Discuss with the CTO, how does he see you as a strategic fit in the organization? Let him know your aspirations as well.

How do you see yourself 6 months from now. Managing a team? You can bargain with him for training courses which can add value to yourself and to the organization.

In a startup you get quickly to where you want to get with least resistance and you get to experience many facets of the organization. Invaluable experience that is.

And ask what are the expansion plans of the startup. When the startup expands, you get great roles at the new place.

If the startup is within the first 2 years, then you can ask for atleast 2.5% of the stake, based on a vested period. See joel spoelsky article: Forming a new software startup, how do I allocate ownership fairly?. So check which layer you come in.

Good luck!

answered May 30 '13 at 12:27
116 points

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