These days almost all employees of private, venture-backed companies receive stock options, but often they don’t know the details of those options - details like the option’s exercise price, if they’re ISOs or NSOs or how many options are currently vested. The answers to these questions become very important when it comes time to monetize your options. Not to worry though. This article will show you step by step where to find the information you need in just a couple of minutes. Our task is made easier by the fact that the majority of private companies use either Carta or Shareworks to manage their employee equity awards. We will show you the basics of navigating both.
If your company uses Carta to manage its stock option program, follow these steps:
- Log in to your Carta account.
- Click the Accounts drop-down menu at the top of the page and search or click on the portfolio name.
- Most users will have shares or options in just one issuing company. Click on it and you will see the company’s Overview page and a summary of your equity in the company. This summary will usually provide the information you need.
- If you need information not found on the company’s Overview page, it shouldn’t be too hard to locate as Carta is fairly well organized and intuitive. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for though, you might take a look at the “Navigate your Personal Portfolio” guide located in Carta’s user support library
Shareworks is the other major online equity management platform for private companies. Fortunately, it's equally easy to locate the details you need. Here’s how:
- Log in to Shareworks.
- Select the Portfolio tab.
- Navigate to the Stock Options and Awards tab:
- 4. For information specific to a particular grant – e.g., an option’s vesting schedules - you can find it by double clicking on the grant.
- If you were granted shares or have already exercised your options, you can select the Securities tab to get information about your shares
- 6. For a more detailed Shareworks tutorial, you can check out “How do I navigate my account portfolio? (Private Companies)”.
Lastly, what if your company doesn’t use Carta, Shareworks or any other online equity management software? Don’t despair. It just means you will likely have to get the information you need the old-fashioned way. In this case that means tracking down the stock option grant paperwork you should have received when the grant was made. If you don’t have a copy, your Human Resources department should be able to provide you with one. Though these agreements are each a little different and typically have a lot of legal jargon to sift through, all the relevant facts will be in there somewhere.
We hope you found this little how to guide helpful. If you want to learn more about understanding and getting the most out of your stock options, you might take a look at the below articles found at https://www.collectiveliquidity.com/learn.
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