The business is basically expanding the "brand" of a celebrity chef. I was a cheerleader for the chef and have been part of various negotiations. He now has a television show overseas that is successful. We are ready to expand the brand to other countries, as well as diversify into product, with the ultimate goal of a restaurant chain. We are looking to formalize our business relationship. The chef has virtually no business background; but he is both product AND spokesperson. We have a handful of functional employees...I will be taking on role of CMO, CGS and CBDO; creating both strategy AND marketing for the brand in addition to creating the relationships needed to succeed.

I've hired and negotiated several top level execs at startups. On both sides, this is one of the trickiest negotiations that will have to be made at any stage of a company's life, since the value of the equity is highly uncertain.

This is tough to answer without knowing your background and without knowing how much the current company might be worth. As a rule of thumb a non-founder CEO joining an early stage startup (that has been running less than a year) would receive 7-10% equity. Other C-level execs would receive 1-5% equity that vests over time (usually 4 years).

I would adjust these numbers up somewhat if you have significant experience in the space or a track record of building and monetizing a brand.

I would adjust these numbers down somewhat if the company is generating significant revenue (>$1M) or can fairly valued (by a third party, such as a VC) at over USD $10M.

I would also adjust the numbers down if the company has received professional investment from a venture capital firm or a strategic partner. Also remember that salary and equity are both exchangeable and negotiable -- you may be able to get more equity for less salary and vice versa.

A couple of anecdotal examples I can give you may help out:

- I helped recruit a very seasoned (20+ years experience) CMO at a 4 year old venture backed firm for $180K base salary and 9% equity vesting over 4 years. This person was previously a CMO at a Fortune 500 company.

- A firm that I was involved in founding hired our Head of Business Development with 25+ years experience for $100K salary plus 2.5% equity.

- A personal friend of mine with 10+ years in the Sales and Marketing space just got hired (last week) as the Head of Sales & Marketing at a Series A venture backed Financial Technology firm for $100K salary and 1.5% equity.

Hope this helps -- I'd be happy to discuss further on a call to discuss your personal situation or answer any questions that you may have.


Answered 5 years ago

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