Carta Collective

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  • 1.  Refresh Grants

    Posted 10-18-2023 10:10

    Hello Carta Collective!

    I am interested in learning best practices around refresh grants. They may be a thing of the past, however, how do you retain employees who are key, steady performers (versus top talent who receives equity awards for promotion/stellar performance, as an example)?

    Thank you,

    Maria Mattson

    Maria Mattson

  • 2.  RE: Refresh Grants

    Posted 10-23-2023 14:55

    Hi Maria!

    Carta's CEO shared a Medium article that covers our philosophy on refresh equity grants. It may give you some helpful info into how to handle them:

    Good luck!

    Hannah Givens

  • 3.  RE: Refresh Grants

    Posted 10-24-2023 09:07

    Hey @Maria Mattson! This is a fantastic question - one whose answer continues to evolve. I love @Hannah Givens' comment about Henry Ward's refresh philosophy. When I was working at Carta, I got the privilege of watching the refresh program be created, and then evolve with time. And I'd love to add some comments based on what I've seen from our clients who offer refresh grants -

    A very common way is to offer a grant to those who have completed their vesting on their new hire/initial equity grant (most often this means that the employee has completed 4 years of working with the company, but depends on the vesting schedule). This allows you to reward those who remain with the company, and give them additional incentive to stay longer.

    Besides promotional grants (grants issued upon promotion), another way I've seen is that companies will do an annual review (toward the end of the year) of all the grants they've issued, to see if they have provided their employees the correct amount based on their job position/level in the company. One of the best ways to get the data for this review is through Carta Total Comp, Carta's product that provides the most updated and accurate equity amounts for each company size, position, level, and location.

    In terms of the vesting schedule, about 95% of the schedules I've seen for refresh option grants are 1/48 monthly, with no cliff. Some companies we work with apply a cliff to the refresh grant, but I personally think it should be removed, as long as the employee has completed their cliff from their initial grant.

    Let me know if you want to chat more, or if you have additional questions!

    Chris Hoffmann
    Founder, Equity Admin Co. - Carta admin for pre-IPO companies

  • 4.  RE: Refresh Grants

    Posted 10-26-2023 06:25

    Hey @Maria Mattson

    @Christopher Hoffmann, as always your answer is spot! 

    But I'll add my 2 cents :) 

    To me companies must get rid of the concept of "refresh grants". The word "refresh" doesn't actually mean anything when you think about it.

    At Easop we like to communicate about 4 types of grants (credits to @Dave Wieseneck for the framework) :

    • New hire grants e.g.
      • Occur upon hire

      • Calculated according to job level & equity band

    • Promotion grants, e.g.

      • Occur upon promotion

      • Top up to new job level & equity band

    • Tenure grants, e.g.
      • Given as of 2 years of tenure (or whenever your fell like relevant here it's at 50% vesting considering a 4y vesting)
      • New grant equal to 25% of current band and you do it every year to maintain a long term incentive

    • Performance grants, e.g.
      • Given to high-performers

      • New grant equal to 20% of current band

    One could say that the promo, tenure and performance are all "refresh grants" and that's true but it's important to differentiate them and align on the following items that will eventually define the company's equity philosophy :

    • Purpose
    • Eligibility criteria
    • Parameters

    When this is defined you can not only communicate everything super transparently with your team, but you can also forecast the consumption of your pool and make sure that your recruiting plan makes sense based on your philosophy and bands.

    @Maria Mattson happy to jump on a call to continue the discussion and help you bring your equity philosophy to life if that makes sense!

    Here is my email:


    Valentin Haarscher
    Co-founder & CEO
    New York

  • 5.  RE: Refresh Grants

    Posted 10-26-2023 10:57

    @Christopher Hoffmann @Valentin Haarscher  Thank you very much for your insights on this topic. The information you have provided has been very helpful. 

    Maria Mattson