2009 Startup Executive Compensation Survey Results

This Thursday, December 3rd, the results of the 2009 executive compensation survey will be detailed and broken down in two 90-minute webinars (one each for Life Sciences and Technology).  Over 700 companies in the US participated this year (the highest participation by a long shot in the 10-year history of the survey).  Companies that participated in the survey have already received the results and this is the public unveiling to the rest of the world.

For technology companies (nearly 500 in total participated) about 50% described themselves as primarily in the “software” industry while 10% described themselves as in the “cleantech” industry.  The latter is a dramatic jump from last year when just 5 or 6 percent identified themselves as cleantech firms.

As you would expect, there are a number of dramatic changes from previous years.  For one, the base salaries and total compensation for non-founder executives, which had grown at a 5% CAGR for the past 9 years, screeched to a halt and had nearly zero growth (for Tech companies).  Below is another interesting chart on founder equity for tech companies.

I’ve always found this chart amazing to me.  Basically it says that “all founders are not created equal.”  If you’re the CEO and a founder, then you median equity holding is 21%, whereas if you’re CTO that number drops to 9%.

The 2009 CompStudy website has lots of little gems like this one.  The new site is interactive and allows you filter and sort the results of the survey to get valuable cuts on the data (like show me founder CTO compensation in California for Series B, software companies with 40 employees and <$5 million in revenue.

Professor Noam Wasserman, J. Robert Scott, Ernst & Young and others are behind CompStudy.  It’s a long running project and is worth checking out.

Lastly, let me finish where I started.  This Thursday there are two free webinars that detail the results of the survey which you can sign up for here.  The webinar for technology companies is here and the one for life sciences companies is here.