How Much Equity Should You Offer Your Startup’s Team?

When initiating your startup, you probably don’t have substantial financial resources to fund your venture for eternity. Given the instability of the global economy, you might want to divert funds away from your employees’ salaries and into the resources you need for the business. Still, you might face the choice of how much startup equity would be adequate for your team. This guide will help you find out.

What Is Startup Equity?

Startup equity involves providing your employees with partnerships in the company as part of their salary or of their own accord. Since most startups are not publicly traded, employees can decide the company's course by having a say in significant decisions.

Why Give Employees Equity?

Startup equity compensation is a tried-and-tested method that ensures long-term commitment. When competing with large corporations, you can't afford to offer the same salary that they do to an employee of a similar calibre. You can compensate for that with a small equity percentage that lets them know you appreciate their talent and want to retain them for the coming years.

It was something that let many enterprises survive the pandemic. During that time, Rishi Sunak was the Finance Minister of the UK. He coordinated with the British Business Bank to offer funds to startups and loss-making companies through convertible loans that wouldn't charge interest until at least the end of the pandemic. After a while, many other organisations joined in, lending more than GBP 1 billion to more than 1200 firms.

While a few companies stabilised their employees' salaries, many sought startup equity compensation. It can occur in two forms.


The shares you provide to your employees immediately make them a stakeholder in the startup. They have a say in your company's significant decisions. As per the Companies Act 2006, you must disclose all the necessary information to them as and when available.


Options give your employees the ability to purchase stocks in the future. While it has a lower benefit early on, it can create a lucrative opportunity during the growth stage. Your employees can leverage their options to invest in your company, increasing its speculative worth and inviting more capital from outside investors.

How Much Equity Should You Give to Each Employee?

While UK law does not restrict how much equity percentage you can grant each employee, you must maintain a fair balance. Too little, and your employees won't feel adequately compensated. Too much, and you give them assertive control over your enterprise. Thus, you can go the logical route and optimise the distribution depending on your startup size.

Early-Stage Startup

A freshly licensed enterprise may not provide high salaries to those who join in the initial phase. At that point, they must build trust with everyone who enters, especially those in higher posts like CTOs and CFOs.

That's why providing them with substantial shares is an excellent idea. You can grant 5% of your company shares to senior positions and up to a 2% equity percentage for entry-level employees.

Mid-Size Company

If your startup comprises more than 50 people, consider decreasing the equity share, as your organisation may observe a higher valuation. Therefore, granting up to 2.5% of your company's equity to senior-level posts and 1% to entry-level employees is adequate.

Growth Stage Startup

Growth-stage startups pick up quite substantially as they can turn massive profits on their investments. At that stage, your senior employees may be happy with a 1% equity share. Furthermore, you can negotiate packages with your entry-level employees, offering them the choice between a raise and stock options in the coming months.

Parting Words

When deciding on the optimum startup equity for each employee, you may need a solicitor specialising in corporate law to draw up policy and terms of service. Luckily, Mishoura can provide you with a platform to search for professionals that can contribute to your organisation within budget. Connect with us today and lay your legal worries at ease.

Written By -

Omar Shams

Omar Shams

CEO & Founder at Mishoura.com

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