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I recently received a job offer that offers me a certain number of stock options, but when I asked for the strike price or cap table they said that they cannot share that information with me. Instead they simply stated that it was a "generous" amount.

In the past my offers have included the percentage of all outstanding stock options represented by my offer, so it seems strange to me that the company is refusing to volunteer this information. It seems like without this information the stock options have no value, but I'm wondering if there are other ways to assess the value.

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  • How do you have an option with no strike price? You have an option to buy shares... at what price? Do they just make up a strike when the options expire? I can see having a nebulous notion of shat a "share" is worth but an option with no purchase price makes no sense to me. – D Stanley Feb 23 at 20:52
  • They said the strike price will be revealed in a few months, but right now it seems impossible to assess the value. – 3DL6_aPLKx Feb 23 at 20:58
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Employee stock options usually have a strike price equal to the fair market value of the company on the grant date; the idea being that you are getting a share of the value created from that point forward. So I would evaluate the options based on the potential of the company relative to what it is now. In my experience it's pretty common to not get a strike price immediately if the company is in the midst of a 409A valuation or a fundraising round.

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Without a strike price the options are meaningless. You have the option to buy shares... at what price? Even if you don't know how much a "share" is worth without a strike the options are meaningless.

Certainly knowing what percentage of the outstanding shares your options represent would be valuable, too - at least then you could get some sort of semblance of value based on an estimate of the company's worth.

In the context of a job offer, though, it may not be a deal-breaker so long as the salary and other considerations like benefits, stability, etc. are reasonable. You could consider the stock options as "gravy" in the sense that you don't rely on them having any value, but if they do, then it's only a benefit to you.

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