Mac Clemmens first became aware of Carta when he was bootstrapping his first startup from his college dorm room. He was frustrated by archaic systems for cap table management and was looking for answers for issuing employee equity.
“I thought, there’s got to be something better than spreadsheets,” he says. “I wanted a centrally auditable system with the right permissions in place.” He found that cap table solution with Carta.
Since then, he’s added other products in Carta’s suite of services—Carta Total Comp, to make compensation and hiring easier and more efficient, and Carta Equity Advisory, to save money on taxes for both his investors and employees.
After a successful exit from his first company, Mac used some of the money he earned in the acquisition to bootstrap his second venture, Streamline, which builds software for special districts—local government units that handle specialized needs, like water, fire, or safety.
As Streamline grew and took on outside investment, Carta became his central platform for managing company administration. “I was able to use Carta to track everything and do things in a way that kept us QSBS-qualified, to manage transactions, and keep all paperwork clean thanks to Carta’s process,” he says.
In the years since Mac first joined Carta, he’s been impressed with how the product offerings have grown along with his companies. He now recommends Carta’s platform to fellow founders.
“It’s completely revolutionized our whole business. I’m part of an Entrepreneur’s Organization peer group and I’m always telling my peer companies, if you’re not on Carta, you’re just telling investors and employees that you don’t care to be transparent and accountable about your stock. If you’re serious about equity, you’re on Carta.”
Here’s a closer look at Carta’s impact on Streamline’s operations.
Cap table: ownership at your fingertips
Before using Carta at his first company, Mac says issuing options was an expensive and manual process. Tracking down ownership meant emailing back and forth with lawyers to track down records.
“It was some ancient stuff. If you wanted to track down an option grant and say, a certain paralegal is on vacation, no one knows where it is,” says Mac.
Now with Carta, he can see his cap table at a moment’s notice. “I want everything at my fingertips,” says Mac. “I’m of the generation where I expect everything to be digitally available, and so are my employees.”
“Now I can use my attorney for high-level legal matters and strategy, and we don’t get frustrated over tactical clerical matters that really aren’t a good use of anybody’s time,” says Mac.
“I always continue to be impressed by Carta and I love that my attorney likes Carta as well.”
Total comp: ‘revolutionizing how we do pay’
Mac says Carta Total Comp has “revolutionized how we do pay.” He’s used Carta’s job-leveling data to forecast expenses as he makes hiring plans with his managers and grows his team.
Since founding Streamline in 2022, the team has scaled from 6 to 42 people.
“We can use Carta’s data to forecast what kinds of expenses we’re going to add to our P&L [profit and loss statement]. As a startup, it’s absolutely critical for me to be able to do all of this forecasting. I need to be able to empower my teams and managers to hire and make sure we stay in our cash flow envelope,” says Mac. “Thanks to Carta Total Comp, I’m able to do all that in one place. It is so powerful.”
Data from Carta Total Comp has also helped Mac increase pay parity. Streamline has used data to establish pay bands around the 60th percentile of San Francisco market rate by level. When a qualified candidate’s salary requirements were far below the pay band, Mac was able to make an offer above their ask to make sure they were paid fairly.
Data helped Mac make sure pay was fair across the board and didn’t reward those who were more aggressive negotiators—or punish those who weren’t.
Equity advisory: savings for investors and employees
Mac found out that Streamline qualifies for QSBS (Qualified Small Business Stock) tax treatment thanks to a Carta webinar.
“I then asked my attorney about it and it turns out both I and my investors can get big tax breaks for investing in small business,” says Mac. “When I found out, I thought, ‘More people need to know about Carta.’”
As Streamline grew, and especially when they accelerated employee stock vesting early last year, Mac relied on Carta Equity Advisory to help his employees navigate their stock options and related taxes.
“I was able to offer to my employees the chance to hear from a CPA, explaining the value of their equity and how it works, and to book individual appointments,” Mac says. “I had multiple employees be like, my personal accountant didn’t understand this half as well as the Carta advisor did. And they saved hundreds, if not thousands, in hourly fees with their own accountants.”
Having a Carta advisor explain equity helped employees understand their full compensation package, including the potential benefits of owning part of a high-growth startup.
“I feel like we’re growing up because now we have Carta to prove out what we’re doing.”