Consulting Offices:

  • Austin
  • Boston
  • London
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Singapore Office

Pre-IPO Compensation

We work with emerging technology and life sciences companies, at every stage of development, to provide the right support at the right time to fuel the next round of growth. From executive compensation to director pay to employee rewards, we help organizations scale and prepare to go public.

IPO Planning

Pre-IPO Compensation | IPO Planning
"This is all new to us, but we have to check all the right boxes, and fast."

We've helped numerous companies cross the IPO finish line, guiding them through the many compliance, compensation and governance hurdles faced during the transition from private to public. Our team assists companies in rapidly transforming their programs to enter life as a public company with all of the appropriate executive compensation, director compensation, equity award, and corporate governance protocols in place. We partner with clients to:

  • Create and Complete an IPO Checklist – We'll walk you through all of the key issues to consider in advance of an IPO, including assessing the retentive value of equity programs, developing a peer list of publicly traded companies to help set executive and director pay, and reviewing and designing an equity strategy for your pre- and post-IPO worlds.
  • Benchmark Rewards at Every Phase of an IPO – Leveraging our comprehensive surveys and robust database of SEC filings, we help companies pinpoint the best ways to reward key talent before, during and after an IPO. This includes knowing when to shift from options to restricted shares, implementing formal bonus plans and adjusting base pay.
  • New Equity Plan Design – Our prospectus database includes information on every equity plan implemented by newly public companies during the past five years. We'll help you understand trends in the market, right-size your share request, and implement key design features, including evergreen provisions and employee stock purchase plans.


Scaling for Growth (for Mid- to Late-Stage Startups)

Pre-IPO Compensation | Scaling for Growth
"Our mandate is growth. We need systems that won’t break as we scale."

Scaling your business from less than 200 employees to 500 or more in a few short years requires a sophisticated approach to compensation planning and workforce management. Our consultants work with growing organizations to build the systems they need to compete for top talent, hire efficiently, stay on budget, and migrate to profitable growth. We partner with clients to:

  • Navigate New Rounds of Financing – We'll work with you throughout the process of raising additional capital to ensure your approach to equity compensation remains consistent as your capitalization table evolves.
  • Upgrade Core Compensation Systems – From salary structures to job leveling to job definitions, we'll work with your growing HR team to ensure your systems mature at the same pace as your organization.
  • Prepare for International Expansion – Radford's technology and life sciences surveys house data from more than 80 countries, allowing us to help your organization make rewards decisions around the globe with confidence.
  • Prepare for Commercial Growth – Formalize your sales compensation plans, including appropriate pay mix by role, performance metrics, payout curves and tools to monitor cost of sales relative to market.
  • Establish a Compensation Committee – We'll walk you through the process of adapting your Board of Directors to take on formalized oversight of key executive compensation and equity decisions.


Compensation Fundamentals (for Early-Stage Startups)

Pre-IPO Compensation | Compensation Fundamentals
"We're building a business; we can't let compensation issues slow us down."

In today's incredibly dynamic talent market, early-stage startups can quickly run into compensation challenges, including inconsistent job offers, a lack of internal pay equity and excessive shareholder dilution. Of course, getting your compensation house in order isn't easy when internal HR resources are sparse and you're trying to build a new business. This is where Radford comes in. Our consultants can help your early-stage business put all of its key compensation fundamentals into place. Our work typically includes:

  • Conducting internal and external compensation assessments to check for potential internal pay equity issues and measure your overall market competitiveness across all elements of compensation
  • Creating basic job definitions and leveling criteria to ensure people managers, human resources colleagues, and recruiters speak the same language when discussing talent issues
  • Building initial salary structures to improve internal pay equity, manage job offers and promotions more efficiently, and make consistent, well-grounded compensation decisions across your entire organization
  • Developing equity grant guidelines to ensure equity dilution remains in check, new-hire grants reflect an appropriate relationship between risk and reward, and awards are right-sized based on changing levels of investment
  • Establishing performance management systems to create a culture of pay-for-performance and identifying and developing high-potentials during the most formative years of your business


Investor Services (for Venture Capital Firms)

Pre-IPO Compensation | Investor Services
"We want to eliminate as much guesswork as possible for our companies."

You believe in the long-term growth potential of your portfolio companies, and you also understand the critical role that effective talent and rewards systems can play in ensuring your companies achieve success. From real-time market data to portfolio outreach and education to on-call advisory services for your HR partners, we have the comprehensive resources venture capital firms need to add significant value to their portfolio firms. We provide:

  • Highly-Targeted Market Data – Access our prospectus database, pre-IPO compensation survey and other global data sets to monitor compensation trends, and track equity practices and shareholder dilution levels at technology and life sciences companies across multiple stages of development
  • Advisory Services – Join a growing roster of venture capital firms who've partnered with Radford for ongoing compensation support, including participating in special working sessions with your human capital team, regular updates on market trends and on-call access to our consulting team.
  • Portfolio Outreach – Partner with Radford to ensure your portfolio companies receive invitations to exclusive networking events and special training sessions for pre-IPO companies.