editione2.1.1Updated September 12, 2022
This Guide currently covers:
Equity compensation in C corporations in the United States.
Equity compensation for most employees, advisors, and independent contractors in private companies, from startups through larger private corporations.
Limited coverage of equity compensation in public companies.
Topics not yet covered:
Equity compensation programs, such as ESPPs in public companies. (We’d like to see this improve in the future.)
Full details on executive equity compensation.
Compensation outside the United States.
Compensation in companies other than C corporations, including LLCs and S corporations, where equity compensation is approached and practiced in very different ways.
For these situations, see other resources and get professional advice.
Our aim is to be as helpful to the beginner as to those with more experience. Having talked with employees, CEOs, investors, and lawyers, we can assure you that no matter how much you know about equity compensation, you will likely run into confusion at some point.
If you’re an employee or a candidate for a job, some of these may apply to you:
You’ve heard phrases like stock, stock options, strike price, ISOs, RSUs, 83(b) election, 409A valuation, AMT, or early exercise and know they are probably important but are mystified by what some of them really mean or whether they apply to your situation.