Equity ownership can be a transformational part of an individual’s financial wellbeing. Yet many people don’t understand the equity offers they receive from employers.
Our data show that 65% of vested options are left on the table. Employees are walking away from the value they helped create. While there can be multiple reasons for this, one of the most significant reasons is that employees lack the knowledge and understanding of equity ownership and how to optimize it.
Thus, we believe that basic equity education is essential to expanding equity ownership.
As more employees become educated in equity compensation, there is more opportunity for them to unlock value, build wealth, and reinvest it in themselves and future ideas – fueling the innovation economy for years to come. Register here for our Equity Essentials webinar 11 am (PT), Tuesday, January 26.
At Carta, we believe the best way to solve this problem is by arming current and future equity-holding employees with the information they need to understand what an equity offer looks like, how grant options work, the basic tax implications of equity compensation, and, most importantly, how to unlock the value in equity.
Introducing Equity Essentials
To do our part, Carta is undertaking an initiative to provide fundamental equity education to more than 100,000 people – both current and prospective employees of privately-held companies. Our goal with the Equity Essentials program is to help participants better understand and optimize the equity grants that they either have now or will receive in the future.
How do we plan to do this?
As a first step, Carta has built a fundamental equity education curriculum that walks through an employee’s experience from accepting a grant to vesting to exercising and finally the sale of shares. The program touches on the tax implications and broader considerations individuals should understand when assessing equity ownership.
Carta will host monthly 45-minute virtual sessions where Carta employees will walk through the curriculum and answer participant questions live. Based on our pilot session in December 2020, which was attended by nearly 3,400 participants who submitted 400+ equity-related questions, we already know there is a critical need for this education in our community, as many current and prospective employees are first-time equity holders and are eager to learn more.
But we can’t do it alone.
Nevertheless, we cannot reach our goal of educating 100,00 people alone. That’s why we plan to collaborate with our partners and the broader startup and investor community to balance the scale in fair equity distribution practices. (Read the Table Stakes 2020 study for more information on the state of fairy equity ownership across gender, race and geography.)
We will partner with the wider community – including other privately-held companies, investors, incubators, accelerators, talent pipeline organizations, etc. – to ensure we reach both traditional and non-traditional networks such as those from diverse backgrounds geographically, economically, and racially. It’s critical that every member of our community has the opportunity to maximize their equity earning potential and understand their rights as an equity holder.
At the end of the day, Carta’s mission is to create more owners by unlocking the value in equity. As more employees better understand and are empowered to maximize their equity grants, there is more opportunity for them to unlock the value in their equity, build wealth, and reinvest it in themselves and future ideas further fueling the innovation economy for years to come.
If you’d like to learn more about the Equity Essentials program and how you can get involved (either as a participant or a partner), please visit here. We look forward to hearing from you.
DISCLOSURE: This communication is on behalf of eShares Inc., d/b/a Carta, Inc. (“Carta”). This communication is not to be construed as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice and is for informational purposes only. This communication is not intended as a recommendation, offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Carta does not assume any liability for reliance on the information provided herein.