While vesting is a simple concept, it can have profound and unexpected implications. Typically, stock and options will vest over four years – which means that you have to be around for four years to own all of your stock or options (for the rest of this post, I’ll simply refer to the equity as “stock” although exactly the same logic applies to options.) If you leave the company earlier than the four year period, the vesting formula applies and you only get a percentage of your stock. As a result, many entrepreneurs view vesting as a way for VCs to “control them, their involvement, and their ownership in a company” which, while it can be true, is only a part of the story.
Brad Feld has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987. He is currently a Managing Director at Foundry Group. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and, prior to that, founded Intensity Ventures. Brad is also a co-founder of TechStars.