How to Issue Stock Options to Offshore Developers

Stock Option Trend for Tech Companies in Silicon Valley

In the highly dynamic world of Silicon Valley, the ever-transforming landscape of compensation strategies adopted by Tech Companies is nothing short of innovative. Stock options—once a generous enticement to lure in top-notch talent—are now a common component of a competitive offer to attract talented developers.

As a startup founder or a decision-maker in a tech company, if you are wondering, “Which bonus system should I choose? How do I implement it? How can I offer stock options to an employee who is a citizen of another country?” You’re not alone in this.

The practice of offering stock options can be quite complex, with numerous legal and financial intricacies to consider. To help navigate this landscape, I’ll discuss the nuances of different bonus systems, how to select the right one for your company, and the platforms that facilitate this process.

Moreover, I’ll share some of TurnKey’s first-hand experiences and cases on how the use of bonuses, particularly stock options, has significantly impacted team’s results. My aim is to provide a comprehensive understanding of this topic, enabling you to make informed decisions for your company.

So whether you’re a startup founder, an HR professional, or simply someone curious about the tech industry’s compensation trends, this article is for you. Get ready to gain a wealth of knowledge on stock options and bonuses in Silicon Valley!

Table of Contents

The Rise of Stock Options in Silicon Valley Tech Companies

Firstly, what are stock options? Simply put, a stock option is a benefit given to an employee, offering them the right to buy a certain number of shares in the company at a predetermined price. This price is often lower than the market price, making it a potentially lucrative opportunity for employees.

So, you may be asking, why stock options? What makes them such a popular choice amongst flourishing tech companies in the Silicon Valley? Well, the answer lies within the unique blend of benefits they offer both to the companies and their employees.

Stock Option Trend: Important Statistics

Stock Option Trend for Tech Companies in Silicon Valley
  • Tech startups, those which often operate in niches like cloud computing, e-commerce, and artificial intelligence, that offer equity to employees have a 33% higher rate of success, according to some studies.
  • The incentives service market size was valued at more than $3.9 billion in 2021.
  • The average vesting period for stock options in Silicon Valley is 4 years
  • In 2020, tech companies in Silicon Valley granted stock options worth $23.8 billion to their employees.
  • In 2020, the average stock option grant for a VP-level employee in Silicon Valley was $1.5 million, hinting at the value placed on leadership in the tech sector.
  • In 2020, the average stock option grant for a Silicon Valley engineer, including those in software companies, was $250,000.
  • In 2019, 80% of tech companies in Silicon Valley offered stock options to employees. This trend mirrored the practices of technology companies and internet companies across the tech sector.

The Appeal of Stock Options

Stock options are often seen as a win-win situation.

For startups and tech companies, especially those involved in cloud computing business or creating advanced micro devices, trying to attract top talent while operating on a tight budget, offering stock options can be a game-changer. It provides employees with a sense of ownership and aligns their interests with the company’s success.

For employees, stock options present a chance to share in the company’s potential future growth, serving as a powerful motivator that goes beyond the paycheck.

Grant Stock Options Effortlessly Across Borders. Hire Software Development Teams with TurnKey and Ensure Global Equity Distribution is a Breeze.

Impact on Employee Performance

But what does this mean for the tech companies themselves? How does offering stock options, even in bearish market conditions, affect their team’s results? 

In many cases, it has proven to be a catalyst for enhancing productivity and fostering a sense of unity amongst employees. It’s like this – when employees own a part of the company, they are not just working for a paycheck, they are working for the overall success of the organization they partially own. This can lead to unprecedented levels of motivation, dedication, and ultimately, performance, which aligns with the ethos of Silicon Valley’s tech giants.

The Future of Bonus Programs

As we gaze into the future of bonus programs in the tech industry, especially given the changing landscape with entities like Meta Platforms, Apple Inc, and other tech behemoths, it’s quite clear that stock options are becoming the go-to form of compensation. They’re becoming a vital part of the overall bonus structure, particularly for tech startups in Silicon Valley. But why is this so?

Primarily, it boils down to the fact that stock options offer an excellent way for companies to attract, retain, and motivate top-tier talent. Tech startups, which often lack the necessary funds to compete with established companies in terms of salaries, can instead offer prospective employees the potential for substantial future earnings. By giving employees a stake in the company, startups can instill a greater sense of ownership and foster a more dedicated, loyal workforce.

But stock options are just the tip of the iceberg. The tech industry, keen on innovating compensation, is beginning to experiment with various other types of bonuses:

  • Profit Sharing: Some companies are starting to offer profit-sharing plans, where employees receive direct cuts of the company’s profits. This encourages employees to work harder for the firm’s success, as their compensation is directly tied to the company’s performance.
  • Signing Bonuses: These are often offered as a one-time incentive to attract top talent. They can be particularly effective in competitive job markets.
  • Performance Bonuses: These are tied to an employee’s performance and can be an effective way to incentivize high productivity and exceptional work.

Motivate Your Software Development Team Like Never Before. Offer Stock Options and Ignite a Sense of Ownership and Dedication.

Platforms That Allow You to Implement a Bonus System for Your Tech Startup

When it comes to implementing a bonus system for your tech startup, there are several platforms out there that can make this process simpler and more streamlined. These platforms can help you establish an effective system that rewards employees, fosters a sense of belonging, and boosts productivity. But how do you choose among them? 

It’s important to consider what kind of bonus system you want to implement. Are you looking at rewarding individual effort or team performance? Do you want to offer stock options, or would you rather stick to cash bonuses? These are crucial questions that will help guide your choice. 

Note: Offering bonuses, including stock options, can be a complex process that involves legal and financial considerations. Always seek advice from an attorney or financial advisor before implementing a bonus system.

Bonus System for Your Tech Startup
  1. Easop: The premier platform for equity incentive management. Fast and cost-efficient, Easop allows businesses to compliantly offer and manage equity incentives for employees, contractors, and advisors in 70+ countries. With their own network of 60+ law firms (Goodwin, Cooley, GQ Littler, etc.) they allow you to operate independently from local lawyers in every country, reducing your legal expenses by up to $50k per year. Ideal for companies seeking an efficient solution for global equity distribution.
  2. Pulley: Your go-to for managing and organizing financial assets. Pulley offers a comprehensive dashboard for overseeing investments, making it a breeze to keep track of financial portfolios and growth metrics. Ideal for companies aiming for financial clarity and growth.
  3. Bonusly: An awesome tool for peer-to-peer recognition. Employees can give each other small bonuses that add up over time. This is great for fostering a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect within your team.
  4. Carta: If you’re considering giving out stock options as bonuses, Carta could be the platform for you. It simplifies the management of equity plans and cap tables, making it easier to offer stocks as a form of bonus.
  5. 15Five: This platform allows you to integrate a bonus system with performance reviews. It’s particularly useful if you want to reward individual employee achievements.

Whatever platform you choose, remember that the goal of a bonus system is not just to reward, but more importantly, to inspire, motivate, and retain your team members. When done right, a bonus system can be a powerful tool to drive your startup to new heights.

Case Studies: Streamlining Equity Compensation Management

Let’s delve into some real-life scenarios to understand the impact of bonuses on team performance in tech companies. The right incentive can make a world of difference, shaping the outlook and performance of a team in ways that are transformative and beneficial for the company. 

While cash bonuses are still prevalent, many tech companies, especially software companies and those in the cloud computing business, are leaning towards stock options as a way to incentivize and reward their employees. This shift isn’t just in internet companies, but even semiconductor giants and software businesses focused on areas like cybersecurity software, data centers, and graphics processing units. For example, Nvidia Corp, known for its prowess in the latter, has seen its stock price rise, benefiting from this trend.

Whether it’s stock options, cash bonuses, or other types of incentives, tech companies in Silicon Valley have been leveraging these to motivate their teams, with impressive results. 

At TurnKey, we’ve partnered with Easop to offer you a fast, cost-efficient, and compliant way to grant equity to contractors anywhere in the world. Here’s an actual Easop client example of how our partnership could make a difference for your global software development team.

Background: Maze, a rapidly growing company, faced challenges in managing their equity compensation even during its early stages. With employees in multiple countries, Maze’s Total Rewards team juggled between Carta’s capable management solution, an elite US law firm for advisory and legal templates, and numerous manual tasks. This mix not only resulted in significant legal expenses but also left the team grappling with compliance uncertainties and challenges related to correct legal wording in grant paperwork, depending on the country.

Maze’s Challenges:

  • Expensive legal fees for equity management.
  • Concerns about 100% compliance accuracy.
  • Anxiety around managing equity, especially concerning legal verbiage based on country-specific regulations.
  • A surge in hiring in over 35 countries post a successful Series A fundraise led to a backlog of grants for international grantees.

Easop’s Solution: Upon collaborating with Easop, the initial assistance was centered around refining Maze’s ESOP documentation and reporting methodologies, particularly for the US and UK markets.

However, recognizing the efficiency and expertise of Easop, Maze extended the partnership. Shifting from the conventional method of associating with local law firms in every territory, Maze decided to entrust Easop for all legal paperwork regarding NSO plans in several countries including Romania, Serbia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Mexico, Turkey, and Australia.


  • Speed and Efficiency: The partnership facilitated a swift and efficient expansion of Maze’s international team.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Reduced reliance on multiple law firms meant substantial savings on legal fees.
  • Simplification: The process of managing employee stock options became streamlined, reducing the workload for the rewards team.
  • Transparency: Easop’s employee portal delivered clear insights to Maze’s team members about their stock option values.
  • Compliance Confidence: Collaboration with Easop guaranteed Maze’s 100% compliance across all operating territories.

Easop incentives platform proved to be an instrumental partner for Maze, transforming its equity compensation management from a complex, resource-intensive task into a streamlined, cost-effective, and compliant system. This case study underscores the importance of choosing the right partners for navigating the intricate landscape of equity compensation.

With TurnKey, You Can Hire Software Development Teams From 16+ Countries and Offer Them Stock Options. Embrace the Power of Global Talent and Equity Incentives.

While choosing to expand your team with TurnKey, you will also get the following perks from our Easop partnership:

Stock Option Trend for Tech Companies in Silicon Valley

How to Choose the Right Bonus System for Your Tech Startup

Choosing the right bonus system for your tech startup can feel like navigating a labyrinth. With a myriad of options available, it’s essential to find the one that best complements your team’s needs and business goals. But where do you start? 

Here, we’ll delve into key considerations that can guide you in your quest for the ideal bonus system.

Understand Your Team's Motivators

The first step towards choosing the best bonus system is understanding what drives your team. Are they motivated by monetary rewards or do they value recognition and work-life balance more? Understanding these dynamics can help shape a bonus system that truly resonates with your team. Remember, a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works. Your bonus system should be as diverse and dynamic as your team itself.

Align Bonuses with Company Objectives

Your bonus system should not just be an afterthought; rather, it should align with your company’s objectives. If your startup is in its early stages, you might consider bonuses that incentivize long-term commitment, like stock options. But if your focus is on rapid growth, performance-based bonuses could be a better fit. Make sure your bonus system is a strategic tool that propels your company towards its goals.

Consider the Financial Implications

Before setting up any bonus system, it’s critical to consider its financial implications. Can your startup afford it? More importantly, is it sustainable in the long run? Remember, an unsustainable bonus system can do more harm than good. It can create expectations that, when unmet, can lead to dissatisfaction and decreased productivity. Run the numbers and consult with a financial advisor to ensure the bonus system is feasible.

Tax Burden for Contractors in The Countries of Their Tax Residence

Be Transparent and Fair

Transparency and fairness are key in implementing any bonus system. Clearly communicate how the system works, what the criteria are, and how bonuses are calculated. This ensures everyone understands the system and sees it as fair. Lack of transparency can result in confusion and distrust, which can ultimately impact your team’s motivation and productivity. 

In conclusion, choosing the right bonus system for your tech startup is a delicate balance of understanding your team’s motivators, aligning the system with your company’s goals, considering financial feasibility, and maintaining transparency and fairness. With careful thought and planning, you can create a bonus system that truly rewards and motivates your team, driving your startup to new heights of success.


As we move forward into the future, one thing is clear: the successful tech companies of tomorrow will be those that can offer competitive, appealing, and innovative bonus programs today. These perks offer employees a stake in the company’s success and serve as a powerful tool to drive motivation and retain talent.

August 31, 2023

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