OAF & Brentwood Group: 2016 Annual Compensation Survey of VC-Backed Companies in OR and SW WA

Julianne Brands - July 2016

In the past, it’s been difficult to know what to pay employees of venture-backed companies in our Oregon. We’ve been able to reference data from other regions (predominantly, Seattle and the Bay Area), but we’ve found it’s not always an apples to apples comparison given overall cost of living is higher in other large, metropolitan regions, and the shape and size of companies in other regions differ from the norm here.

So what to do? We decided to ask the community!

We’ve partnered with the Brentwood group, active venture-investors in Oregon, and our respective portfolio companies to try and get a more accurate picture of what venture-backed companies in our region pay their employees, and we’re excited to announce that our 2016 Annual Compensation Survey VC-Backed Companies in OR and SW WA results are now live for the community to use.

Look at our full executive summary here:

Here are some highlights:

  • 35 venture-backed companies participated in the survey, and companies in the sample skewed early stage with 40% of respondents in our survey raised less than $2M in capital and have less than $2M in revenue.

  • Equity compensation in our region was higher when compared to a global benchmark (Option Impact Survey), but much lower salary compensation. In fact, if you moved to a market like San Francisco or Seattle, the average employee of a venture-backed startup could expect their salary to be 67% higher.

  • Unsurprisingly, the amount of capital a company has raised is the most telling indicator of  increasing cash compensation and decreasing equity compensation, compared to stage of company or revenue.  It’s no surprise then that since companies in our survey have raised less capital than companies in the benchmark survey, we see lower cash compensation and higher equity for companies in our region.

  • The median CEO/Founder salary was $120K, with a 10% bonus, and 27.9% equity in the company.

  • Board Members are not likely to receive any cash compensation, but receive .88% (median) in equity.

Shameless plug: If you’re a venture-backed company in Oregon or a VC with venture investments in the area, and want to participate, please email me, Julianne Brands (julianne@oregonangelfund.com)

If you do, you’ll get full access to the dashboard that analyzes employee salary, equity, and bonus compensation across company stage, capital raised, and revenue.

We’re looking forward to expanding our survey to be able to analyze more robust data on venture-backed companies in our region (across company stage, capital raised, and revenue!) and be able to more accurately benchmark this data against venture-backed companies in other regions.

Thanks again to all of our supporters in this project!