Deferred Compensation

I caught up with a founder who described his traction. As he shared his update deck, two things jumped out at me. He’s raised around $100k, and he’s had a team of five or so working for over a year. They’ve made significant progress and have built a product that has early paying customers.

For a team that size, $100k is a small amount of money, so I asked how he’s sustaining things. He said his team agreed to deferred salary. Their salaries are set, but they receive only a portion of them until the product is launched. They’re about to raise a proper round from venture investors. When they do, the deferred salary will be fully paid.

This is an interesting approach to building a company absent sufficient investor capital. It definitely isn’t an option for all founders or their employees, but it’s one to be aware of. This founder has done a lot with a little. I’m confident he’ll be able to raise capital to fulfill his promise to his team and keep building.