With a number of successful tech IPOs so far in 2017, it’s a good time to revisit the idea that scaling a startup through to IPO is not only terribly expensive but also heavily dilutive for founders. Each round of funding helps the startup get to the next milestone, and requires selling 20% – 35% of the company to investors. Here are five 2017 IPOs and the founder/CEO equity based on the SEC filings (note that this is for the founder with the most equity and doesn’t include co-founders or secondary where they sell equity prior to the IPO):
- Redfin (not yet public but has filed – source pg. 114) – 3.7%
- MuleSoft (source pg. 134) – 5.9%
- Okta (source pg. 132) – 10.3%
- Yext (source pg. 133) – 9.8%
- Alteryx (source pg. 131) – 20.4%
With an average founder/CEO ownership of 10% at time of IPO, it’s clear most founders have to sell a significant amount of their company to reach substantial scale.
What else? What are some more thoughts on the average founder equity at IPO in 2017?