The Greenshoe = how to repay all those that helped along the way.

Angel Investor, early stage, founder, Hawaii, Revenue Growth, Scalability, startup, startup CEO, Tom Nora, venture

How is it that so many people associated with startups reap the financial benefits, yet others just as close get no financial upside This is a source of frustration among many people in the startup sphere. Imagine if you’re in Silicon Valley right now with no equity in a tech startup, but associated with several people getting six figure “bonuses” because they somehow wound up with some stock in one.

The free parties (or not free) and swag and great stories and boat rides in the bay are nice. Sometimes you’ll even score an iPad or Apple TV, but it’s not the same as being one of the insiders.

Often as startups grow and maneuver their way through the jungle of success or failure, they have a lot of help from those around them.

Often many these people don’t have any equity or upside from their advise or moral support or money lending, or even the spare couch they let you sleep on when you were in their town.

If the startup actually makes it to an IPO, there is actually something you can do.

It’s called the “Greenshoe”. You have to be very careful about this, you can’t imply or promise anything in advance, and it only works when the company goes public, but the Greenshoe is an amazing award for those involved that don’t have equity.

The Greenshoe is an over-allotment of stock options, up to 15% of the total offering at time of IPO. You can offer these options to virtually anyone, friends, family, people who helped your company. Since they’re options, acquirers only exercise if the stock goes up, and have no downside risk or capital outlay.

Upon the IPO event, the option owner can gain the upside if the stock goes up over the initial offering price and essentially collect that difference.

I’ve used it a few times when I was lucky enough to be able to offer it to friends and family. Strangely enough, some people have declined, because they’re not sure it’s legal; they’ve never heard of it. Others have bought themselves a new Lexus with it.

Here’s more info on wikipedia:


The Greenshoe should provide motivation for all of us in the startup world to try to continuously build our company steadily, continuously and profitably and to know that you can make many peoples lives a little bit better by sharing the wealth. The rewards are pretty amazing.

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Another Question I answered on Quora… Talking to CEO and CTO about role as co-founder/COO. First 6 mos are unpaid, they invested 50,000 each so far, and I won’t be required to invest anything but time. How much equity should I ask for?

startup CEO

Where to start? The info is too vague to give a specific answer, but your topic merits discussion and questions.

It’s all about how you are valued

> If they’ve raised $50,000, why can’t they give you some cash? A small amount of cash is very big compared to none. Also shows they value you.

> Don’t agree to deferred cash, you usually never see this.

> Ask to see the bank account, proof of investment. Often this is a “story” or a hypothetical.

Talking to CEO and CTO about role as co-founder/COO. First 6 mos are unpaid, they invested 50,000 each so far, and I won’t be required to invest anything but time. How much equity should I ask for?

> Too many startups now devalue anyone who is not a developer. You need to be positioned as an equal partner, regardless of equity or title.

> The cofounder title is much easier to give away then real stock.

> What are the terms of the equity, same class of shares as them? Vesting?

> Do you have another job? Are you quitting a job? Keeping it? Your equity depends on all of these?

> bottom line – if you’re asking this on quota, it sounds like you already have major reservations. If you really want to be in a startup, want to have the COO title, love their strategy and technology, trust them, and aren’t working right now, maybe go for it.