How to Know if You Have Startup Equity

Gold Standard Note 1922


As startup acquisitions and IPOs become more high-profile and high-dollar, the promise of startup equity is spreading like a gold rush across the country, from Silicon Beach to Silicon Prairie to Silicon Alley. But as the name “startup equity” spreads and is used by companies that don’t meet the “gold standard of startup equity,” employees have to take the initiative to find out if the equity they are earning is true startup equity that will allow them to share in the value at an acquisition or IPO.

The startup community is now engaged in a breakthrough public conversation on employee equity, and employees are asking the key questions: What is startup equity, and how do I know if I have it? Now, expert voices are answering them in the public forum in a blog-to-blog conversation to define the gold standard. This emerging clarity and empowerment in startup culture could not come soon enough.

Gold-standard startup equity meets these three standards:

These standards empower employees to ask three precise, professional questions to evaluate any equity offer: