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Employment offer terms for software engineer in bay area?

I know that the below is within the general parameters of reasonable, but I'd be interested in whether people think this is high, low, or just right.

Company is a startup of around 50 people, about half engineers, bay area, post series B, series B valuation in the $100M range.

Position is full time software engineer.

Offer is $100K salary, plus benefits, plus, stock options of around .04%


22 Replies

Marty Phee
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Marty Phee Entrepreneur
Senior Software Engineer at Deliveroo
Seems a bit low for the bay area. What kind of developer and how many years of experience? In Chi that would be low for a senior Java developer.
Jonathan Barronville
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Jonathan Barronville Entrepreneur
Software Engineer at npm, Inc.
Well, it's gonna depend on the software engineer's experience and other variables, but, in general, being in Boston, that sounds like a pretty good offer to me (also assuming a fair percentage of health and dental coverage). That being said, believe it or not, from what many friends who work down there have told me, in the bay area, $100K salary can easily be looked down upon. I have no experience there at all though, so take what I've said with a grain salt :) .

- Jonathan
Alan Peters
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Alan Peters Entrepreneur
VP Product and Technology at BusinessBlocks
Low for a company that far along, unless the person is junior
Peter Sankauskas
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Peter Sankauskas Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder & CEO at CloudNative
If it is a junior engineer position, than $100k is fine. If you want a high-quality senior engineer, then that is low. Very low actually.

Remember who you are competing with, and what they are offering.
Mohammad Forouzani
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Mohammad Forouzani Entrepreneur
CEO at Forecast.net
About right for a junior, and very low for a senior.

If you are looking for a senior software engineer in a high demand area (e.g. ruby), you will have to double that salary in the bay area.
Scott Le Grand
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Scott Le Grand Entrepreneur
Principal Engineer at Amazon
That would be an excellent starting salary... In 1997 when I moved to Silicon Valley...

And that's because it's pretty much what I got straight out of academia back then with zero industry experience to work for a pre-IPO startup that went on to be the worst stock on Wall Street that year...

I would run away from this company as fast as you possibly can. Failing that, I would not settle for anything <0.2% and $120K assuming you are a newbie with zero industry experience. As others have said, if you have an in-demand skill, $150K-$200K and 0.5 to 0.7% equity is more realistic. They guys are post series B. They have more money than time. The fact that they are playing games like this with you indicates to me that they have this situation reversed in their heads.

For even if these guys get a billion dollar buyout, the current equity is chickenfeed. Go work for Google, Microsoft, or Facebook under these terms. They'll treat you a lot better.

Marty Phee
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Marty Phee Entrepreneur
Senior Software Engineer at Deliveroo
Wow, I wouldn't have thought so high. Think I need to move... :-)
Michael Barnathan
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Michael Barnathan Entrepreneur • Advisor
Co-Founder of The Mountaintop Program, Google Alum
The equity is negligible, so discount that and look at salary. While I'm going by NYC salaries (Bay Area is probably higher if anything), $100k seems kind of low unless the position is junior. My guess is that a senior developer can probably pull in closer to $150k.

If the company culture sounds interesting or there's another non-monetary reason you'd really want to work there even if the salary's not quite market, see if you can negotiate them a bit higher and take it. Salary's not everything, after all; happiness / satisfaction / purpose is also an important intangible part of working that you can't always find everywhere. If it's just another 50 person software company, you may be better served shopping around a bit more.
Matt Martin
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Matt Martin Entrepreneur
Sr. Software Engineer at RelateIQ
Thanks everyone for the feedback. This is all generally in line with my thinking, but it's always nice to be able to poll the community.
Alison Lewis
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Alison Lewis Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO/Creative Director
This is great. Can I add a question to this? It's a bit different, but on topic.

What is the offer for a Jr. Engineer (5yrs experience)? He'll be the first EE/Firmware engineer on the team and hopefully go through an accelerator program with us. We are not funded yet; so it's a bit of a challenge. Love to know what engineers are thinking when it comes to coming onto a team at this stage. Great potential, cool people, but pre-financed. Sr. Engineer/Management comes later.
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