I'm leaving a startup. How much co-founder equity should I get?

Question: (org. on Quora) As a grad student, I worked 5M part-time (25% of total time) with a co-founder, who came up with, funded and executed the idea. We were supposed to split 50/50 if I become full-time. However, we missed a  milestone & I'm leaving to look for a full-time job. We never had a formal discussion with a contract, details on vesting schedule, etc. I want to be compensated in equity for the work I put in. How much equity should I ask? What % equity is fair?

Answer (by Dan Walter)

I align pay with company strategy and culture. Learn more at www.performensation.com. My expertise includes equity compensation programs.

1. You should ask for as much as you feel is fair.2. Like many others have said, you should expect to hear that 0% is what is believed to be fair.3. Being a part-time employee / contractor at a company that was not your idea, not funded by your money and whose product was generally not executed by you entitles you to a thank you, but little else.The key to startup equity is that is makes up for the 1) sacrifice in time, money, 2) lost opportunity elsewhere, 3) stress, 4) long hours and 5) passionate contribution you made to the company. Without at least 4 of those 5 it is hard to see how equity is justified, unless it was well documented (and therefore a legal obligation) prior to your leaving.

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