How much do you pay yourself as a founder?

I have a company that raised a $500k seed round and my cofounder and I pay ourselves $75,000/yr.

I’d like to know what others have chosen to do. 

  • I wish I could pay myself something, we’re just not there yet. When I did projections I was looking at $80k for myself and $150k for my tech cofounder b/c that’s how much he needs to leave his job but who knows what we’ll do at the end of the day.

  • A) How much do you need to live?
    B) How much could you earn elsewhere?

    Your salary should be somewhere between these 2 figures. If you over pay yourself, then the money may run out before you start generating income.

      • The first poster is partly right. If you are doing this from a financial standpoint, it is whatever provides you the greatest NPV. That number should be between A & B. But yes, in general A is the closer to where I would lean. You are not doing a startup to get salary rich, so do what is best for you & the company.

  • My co-founder and I both have families to support including mortgages in the SF bay area and are leaving our regular jobs where we had big titles and big salaries. We are deciding to pay ourselves $130K each when we get a seed investment because that’s how much we need to cover our personal expenses (going into foreclosure on my house is a level of risk that’s unacceptable to us both). However we’ve also decided not to get an office, stay lean as long as possible, and leverage favors and friends before hiring more headcount. It’s a balancing act. Take as little as you need, but understand what you need.

  • What is the min you can live on. There’s your answer. Mine is $120K unfortunately. I’d love to be able to pay myself much less. More than this isn’t cool in the investors eyes – but $120K is acceptable.

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