Startup Offer Negotiation

Dealing with multiple job offers can be exhilarating and stressful. Glenn Kelman offers some good advice in his talk at UW CSE in 2007. One of the most challenging aspects of navigating an offer to work at a private company is calculating a value for the equity portion of the shares. Glenn offers some questions you should ask a startup you are considering joining in the slide titled “Questions You Should Ask Any Start-Up Employer,” from the video linked above.

  • How should I think about the value of these shares?
  • How many shares and options are out there?
  • What was the company valued at in its last round of financing?
    • If the company is sold is the money split between investors and employees according to the number of shares they own?
    • How many rounds of financing will it take to build the company? How many more shares do you expect to have to sell?
  • Are you losing money now?
    • How much per month?
    • When do you run out of money?
    • What has to change for the company to start making money?
    • When will that happen?
  • How big can this company be? What’s the market size?
  • What keeps you up at night?

Questions You Should Ask Any Start-Up Employer