Our startup is about to close a $25M+ funding C round. As an early employee, when and how do I go about asking for my salary to be right-sized?

Two thoughts:

First, it’s time. If you took a salary cut to join a start-up, and they’ve raised even $10m+, let alone $25m, it’s time for that salary cut to end. Startups that have raised eight figures need to pay market salaries, more or less.

But second …

Maybe wait a month or two. Once you raise a round, a ton of folks come at you to raise prices, and even, rip you off. Others may give different advice, but as a CEO, it would be nice for things to settle down just a bit. Otherwise, it can feel a tiny bit like blackmail. But differently, perhaps you just don’t want to be the first person barging in for the raise after the round. Maybe try to be the third or so 🙂 Right or wrong, it may feel a bit disloyal or mercenary.

Stick up for yourself, get brought up to market. It’s time. But maybe wait a few weeks until after the TechCrunch article goes up, that’s all.

One small note of caution: Fair or not, everyone doesn’t get a raise after a round. If you were below market, it’s time to bring you up. But it’s not always a great time to ask for a raise otherwise. The CEO likely did not bake in an across-the-board 10–15% bump in salary costs. Just be aware of that.

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Published on January 31, 2018

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