I want there to be an offer letter plus other materials which explain it. It's meaningless to say something like "12000 shares of stock, vesting over 4 years." That may be the legally binding part, but there should be an appendix or model which shows what that actually means.
The problem with making that a separate unsigned/etc. document is it isn't legally binding in the same way an offer letter is.
There's additionally the insanity around "stock options must be approved by the board at the next meeting after you're hired", which could be a quarter. That seems stupid. There should be some cleaner way to handle that.
Oh yeah, usually i just send a spreadsheet. Even the stock options aren't legally binding usually... they still get approved by the board after the hire is made. It is not possible to pre-approve them, but you can do it but UWC (unanimous written consent) without holding a full board meeting. That's what we do.
I commend you for sharing this. A couple issues for you to consider:
Share price isn't always set in that clean a manner, as you'll learn when you fundraise. It's nice when your math works out like this: "if Clef is worth $20m and we raise $5m, we are now worth $25m. If you owned 5% of $20m before, you now own 4% of $25m (we sold 20% of the company, or, said differently, diluted you by 20%). The 5% stake was worth $1m before the fundraise and the 4% stake is now worth $1m." but often you end up with a bit more complexity. Beware simple examples can still set expectations. Converting notes with discounts is one example of this. Preferred and common are not treated the same way, and it is unlikely you will escape selling preferred shares to your next investor.
Early exercise would actually be far more tax advantageous to your employees. You can do this "cashless" as an even greater benefit.
First, I commend you for being so open about your company's finances. A lot of people don't really understand how venture-backed companies operate, so it's really helpful to have real-world examples.
That said, it doesn't really matter whether you refer to your financial projections as projections, goals, etc. What I would observe is that the growth in revenue you targeted and presented to investors apparently has not materialized. At the same time, based on this, it appears your burn has doubled in less than a year, and your quarterly burn appears to be significantly higher than what you projected here.
This is a quintessential demonstration of what I wrote above: it's far easier to spend money in anticipation of growth than it is to actually grow revenues. I would add that it's usually doubly difficult for venture-backed companies to cut spending, even when it becomes clear it's the fiscally prudent thing to do, because it sends all sorts of negative signals to the investors you're going to be asking to continue buying into your growth story.
Actually, we announced the Referly shut down in March 2013 (1) and played with several ideas after that. Based on our most popular content, we thought we would be a tech blog for about 4 weeks... code named "Cursive".
The first commit for Mattermark was made Apr 22, 2013 and we didn't buy the domain for more than a month after that.
Love this question, I think most SaaS companies underprice (including us!). We have raised our prices once since we started, and probably will continue to do this yearly. We make most of our money on expansion revenue (additional seats or services like our API), so the per seat pricing isn't that limiting. But why collect $600 when you could collect $1000? We try to price at the highest point where people will complain but still buy.
Thank you, I am afraid there isn't enough published on this, which is part of what motivated me to write it. I know the content is a bit dense, I hope it was at least palatable enough to get to the end.
For further reading I highly recommend SaaStr.com which is a blog on SaaS and helpful for most recurring revenue type businesses. I also think it is wonderful to work with an accountant, and once you start getting revenue it is worth it. We waited a long time to do this (which is part of why I know as much as I do about this stuff) and that was probably a mistake, as it made a lot of cleanup work for us later on. Hope that helps, good luck with starting your company!
I think it varies in terms of what companies do, but I loved having this visibility at Twilio from our CEO while I was there so I brought the practice with me at Mattermark. It always made me feel like I had a better understanding of the trade-offs we were making and level of risk, and I hope it brings the same feelings and thoughts to my team.
All the quarters from Q1 2005 through Q4 2014 were plotted. The axis labels do not show all of them due to space constraints. Apologies that this was confusing, I will make sure to add all the tick marks and labels in the future.
I don't think you need all, I mean, there were space constraints. This is why a bar graph can be clearer than a line graph for discrete data though. They may be boring, but they are often effective at communication. :-) Oh and it's helpful to label both ends of the graph, from Q1 2005 to Q4 2014, then fill in what labels you can in the middle. If you'd picked random Qs or even just every year, perhaps to shade the backgrounds of each year, that might have made for a more understandable graph. Our fault for misunderstanding it in the first place, of course... This is also why some places link to tables of data used in the graph. You could click to view the table if you had any questions about what you're seeing in the graph. Stephen Few's an accessible read on this subject.