We just launched our startup with a designer helping us pro bono to spruce up the design of it. He's asking for compensation now (which is fair) and is willing to trade in his service for equity. Just wondering if it's better to pay than to trade equity for the service.
As a designer and entrepreneur myself, I would absolutely pay for design and development services rather than give away equity.
I guess I could depend on the nature of your startup, but having worked with a lot of startups, I think you're much better keeping as much equity as possible.