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Many highly valued tech companies do secondary offerings to allow average employees to get some liquidity.

Sure, the general public may not "get in early" but M&A is far less risky for both VCs and general investors. If mostly "sure things" make it to IPO, it's far less likely for the general public to be exposed to the meltdowns that made the headlines circa 2000-2001. The flipside is that until the startups IPO, the VCs and founders are exposed to most of the risk.

Yeah, but as I understand it, employees can usually only sell about 20% or so in secondary offerings. Six months after the IPO, they can liquidate 100%.

They also don't get a real market price for their shares.

Good point. I wonder what the numbers are on how this affects the returns for employees.

Usually it's more like %10 of vested earnings, which ends up being something like %2.5-%5 of their stock.

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