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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Silicon Valley may end up with large numbers of abandoned employee equity, as startups cut jobs amid the coronavirus-caused economic uncertainty.

Why it matters: Startup employees typically have just 90 days from the end of employment to either exercise their stock options, for which they must pay cash, or to let them go.

Driving the news: A number of companies, such as SoftBank-backed Compass, travel lodging company Sonder, and business travel company TripActions, announced layoffs in recent days.

"Paying up front out of pocket, it’s a significant amount that people just don’t have in cash," says EquityBee CEO Oren Barzilai, whose company helps finance employee stock option purchases.

  • EquityBee and Secfi, which also offers financing for employee stock options, both report a recent uptick in startup employees signing up for their services.

Between the lines: What makes these decisions tricky for newly laid-off employees is the combination of the common 90-day exercise window and the volatile economic outlook.

  • Some companies have extended these windows (e.g., Compass employees will have 12 months), but 90 days remains the industry standard.
  • According to Carta, only about 11% of startup employees have exercise windows longer than 90 days, up from about 3% in 2010. And while employees exercise more options when they can do it early, only about 15% of options can be excercised early.

The bottom line: Some workers not only are losing their jobs, but they're likely to lose part of what they earned over the past several years.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Iran rejects nuclear talks with U.S., for now

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at Iran/EU talks in 2015. Photo: Carlos Barria/POOL/AFP via Getty

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that conditions are not ripe for informal nuclear talks between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers.

Why it matters: The Biden administration had proposed the talks as part of its efforts to negotiate a path back to the 2015 nuclear deal. The White House expressed disappointment with Iran's response, but said it remained willing to engage with Tehran.

1 hour ago - Health

U.S. sets weekend records for daily COVID vaccinations

A driver waits to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Inglewood, California on Feb. 26. Photo: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Just over 2.4 million coronavirus vaccinations were reported to the CDC on Sunday, matching Saturday's record-high for inoculations as seen in Bloomberg's vaccine tracker.

Why it matters: Vaccinations are ramping up again after widespread delays caused by historic winter storms. Over 75 million vaccine doses have been administered thus far, with 7.5% of the population fully vaccinated and 15% having received at least one dose.

GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy: "We will lose" if we continue to idolize Trump

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday he does not believe that former President Trump will, or should, be the Republican nominee for president in 2024.

What he's saying: Cassidy pointed out that "over the last four years, [Republicans] lost the House of Representatives, the Senate and the presidency. That has not happened ... since Herbert Hoover."

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