Some of the best CEO’s take the lowest salaries. Marc Benioff of Salesforce took a salary of $1 at IPO, Patrick Shiong of Nant Health and Sytse Sijbrandij of Gitlab took no salary, Dustin Moskovitz from Asana took $1, and Thomas Siebel of C3 gets paid about $6k. These individuals were independently wealthy before the IPO, but it is good to see a CEO pass up a big salary if they can and sets a tone for the entire company.
Other forms of comp include options and bonuses. Note the median bonus was $167k and median option grant had a value of $137k. A performance bonus annually is expected, and a founder will be granted stock as the Company matures and becomes more successful.
We hope the data above is helpful in setting salary expectations. Keep it as low as possible if you can, expect option grants and bonuses for success, and keep in mind the real source of value is your equity.
Sammy is the Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Blossom Street Ventures. Visit us at blossomstreetventures.com and email directly at firstname.lastname@example.org://blossomstreetventures.com/metrics/