What is the standard vesting schedule for employee stock options at a startup?

Whether you’re a high growth tech startup or any other entity, the average vesting period is four years with a one year cliff period. This means that after one year, you can begin accumulating equity ownership, so that you can claim 25% each year until you reach 100% of your ownership interest after four years. The one year cliff means that if you leave before the end of your first full year, you would receive nothing.

With that said, there should be an acceleration clause that allows you to claim 100% of your percentage of equity ownership prior to the end of four years in the event that the company sells or there’s an ownership change, and you’re terminated without cause.

For more information about vesting schedules or to get one created/reviewed by an experienced startup attorney, check out LawTrades. Also feel free to message me directly with any questions you have about how vesting works and what is best for your situation.