Startup Salary Data from Private Company Compensation Survey

Written By: Dharmesh Shah November 14, 2008

It has been a while since I’ve written an article about startup compensation (what do founders, CEOs and others make)?  My previous article about startup founder compensation continues to be popular, despite having been written in 2006.salary compensation data

The data in this article is taken from which publishes a report titled “2008 Compensation & Entrepreneurship Report in IT”.  The report is based on a compensation survey.  This year’s report is based on 342 survey respondents representing 1,600 executives.  Note:  I am not affiliated with CompStudy.  I received the report for free, and I do not know what they charge for it.

Here are some points from the report that I found interesting. 

1.  This year’s survey was conducted between April and June 2008.

2.  31% of the executive population this year were founders in their companies (up from 28% in the prior year).

3.  CTOs and CEOs were the most frequent founders.

4.  Average base salary across all positions increased by 4.7% from 2007 to 2008. 

5.  On average, non-founding CEOs received a 5.4% grant.

6.  Outside of the CEO/President the non-founder Head of Technology holds the highest average equity percentage at 1.53%.

7.  Just 33% of the companies in the latest financing stages still have the founding CEO.

8.  For companies raising one or fewer rounds, the average founding CEO holds nearly one third of the equity.  After two rounds, this reduces to an average of 18%.

9.  Founding CTOs have 17.1% on average in companies with one or fewer financing rounds and 7.49% of companies with 2–3 financing rounds.

10.  CEO average base salary went from $227,000 to $237,000.

11.  Non-founder CEOs have greater total compensation ($339,000) than founding CEOs ($286,000).

12.  Founding CEOs hold an average of 22.05% of the company vs. non-founding CEOs which hold just 5.46%.

13.  The chairperson is the CEO of the company 56% of the time.

14.  Investors comprise more than half othe board of directors seats.  Outside board members comprise about 20% of the board.

So, what are your reactions to some of these data points?  What were you most surprised by? You can leave a comment here or discuss in the OnStartups community on LinkedIn (now with 30,000+ members).

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