At the point where my startup raises $10m, would it be not-inappropriate to take a $170k salary (no co founders)?
Yes, not a problem.
You should take a “market correct” salary as soon as it’s economically immaterial to the company.
I don’t write $10m checks. I write, typically, $1m-$4m checks, the stage before that. But. As soon as I do write a check > $1m — I want to at least make sure the founders get paid. Keeping them “healthy” is usually #1 highest ROI investment at this point.
If paid at that time doesn’t mean a full-market correct salary … then at least … let’s do it in the next round.
I don’t want you stressing about rent or any cr*p like that any longer than you have to.
But if you want to take any non-essential $$$ out when it still matters — then there’s also a problem. You aren’t valuing your stock enough.
I’ve worked for $0. Thrice. I get it. You do it when you have to. But it’s dumb when you don’t have to. It also … gives you an excuse.