Option exercise settings for exercises initiated and settled on Carta

Managing option exercising is now easier than ever. 

International optionholders of US companies can now exercise online via wire transfer to Carta. As a result, all US companies can now settle exercises through Carta, for both ACH and wire transfers payments. Carta conveniently manages payment reconciliation and payment issues such as insufficient funds or overpayments. This new feature is controlled via the new Transaction Settings page. 

Who this affects:

  • 🇺🇸 US companies, public and private

What's new:

  • 💸 All exercises are settled with Carta - company admins will no longer need to mark exercises as paid. No matter where optionholdersers are located, Carta will receive funding for on-platform exercises - US holders pay for their exercise via ACH and non-US holders pay for their exercise via a wire transfer to Carta.
  • ⚙️ Clear transaction settings - company admins control option grant exercisability easily in one central location within Transaction Settings, under Company Settings.
  • Auto-cancel unpaid exercises - A wire exercise is automatically cancelled if unfunded or underfunded for 30 days after admin approval.
  • ✉️Communication with optionholders - Carta communicates directly with optionholders to resolve payment issues, letting them know of an outstanding balance for an exercise or facilitating a refund for overpayment. 

Action required: 

  • Configuring Transaction Settings will enable access to online wire exercises for international optionholders.
  • Visit Company > Settings > Transaction Settings to opt in. Note: Opting "out" does not disrupt the current company or transaction settings. Access to Transaction Settings does not impact users' ability to exercise.

Timing:

  • Rollout begins Oct 14, 2021
  • Rollout to reach 100% of all customers by the end of 2021

Resources: 

Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS)

What’s new

Companies using Carta for 409A will now be additionally assessed for qualified small business eligibility at no extra cost to the company.

Certificates issued by a qualified small business as determined by Carta will have a "QSBS" tag in the product to indicate that the shares represent Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS). The goal of these tags is help stakeholders make more informed selling decisions.

The IRC’s definition of a qualified small business is restrictive yet vague and open for interpretation at the edges, so potential holders of QSBS should consult their tax advisor before making decisions to sell and claiming the QSBS tax benefit.

How it works

Based on company-provided information during the valuations process, Carta will assess the following criteria for qualified small business eligibility:

  • Company's gross assets are $50M USD or less
  • Company is an active business
  • Company is a C-corp
  • Company does not operate in excluded industries

If a company is identified as a qualified small business, a new badge will appear in the 409A dashboard:

If a stakeholder receives a certificate from a qualified small business but hasn't yet met the 5 year holding period for QSBS, they'll see a "QSBS eligible" tag in their portfolio:

Drilling into the security, the stakeholder will see some additional information about the QSBS status of the certificate:

Stakeholders who have held shares issued by a qualified small business for 5 years will see a "QSBS" tag in their portfolio instead:

Additional Resources

For detailed information about QSBS in Carta, please refer to our QSBS support article.

Who this affects

Companies using Carta for 409A and their stakeholders.

Timing

  • Available now to 50 randomly selected 409A customers
  • General availability for all 409A customers coming in two weeks

Partially Canceling Option Grants


What’s new

Legal administrators in Carta can now partially cancel an option grant in Carta. Partially canceling an option grant will reduce the number of outstanding shares and return the shares back to the option pool.

How it works

You'll find the partial cancellation tool by navigating Securities > Equity awards and clicking on the ledger dropdown for the specific option you'd like to partially cancel:

First, you'll be asked to provide an effective date for the partial cancellation. A partial cancellation is an amendment to the option grant, and the effective date will determine when the amendment takes effect in the company's as-of date reporting.

Next, select the cancellation method, which determines how the partial cancellation will affect the vesting schedule for the option grant. Because a partial cancellation reduces the outstanding quantity of the option, Carta needs to know from which tranches the shares should be canceled.

Last in, first out cancellation method

For some situations, the issuer or their legal counsel may not specify the way in which the amendment will affect the vesting schedule. Issuers can select the last in, first out cancellation for the vesting schedule, and Carta will cancel shares starting from the future-most tranche and move up the vesting schedule until the specified quantity has been canceled.

Custom cancellation method

For situations in which the issuer or their legal counsel want to affect the vesting schedule in a specific manner with a partial cancellation, issuers can select the "Custom" share allocation method - this approach provides flexibility and allows the issuer to cancel shares from any tranche. The in-app spreadsheet allows legal administrators to first reflect the partial cancellation in a spreadsheet application outside of Carta and then copy/paste the resulting vesting tranches back into Carta.

After selecting "Review and confirm" at the bottom of the page, verify the cancellation quantity and other information to save the partial cancellation.

Additional Resources

For more information around the limitations and best practices for the partial cancellation tool, please refer to this support article.

Who this affects

The new partial cancellation tool is available to the legal administrators in all of Carta's private market customers.

Timing

Available now.

Get Help!

Carta is making it easier to get the answers our users need, when they need them. Introducing our one-click Help Center.

Who does this affect?

Company administrators and viewers, law firm users, and personal portfolio holders

What’s new?

Users can now access Carta's Help Center in one click by going to the dialog balloon icon at bottom right of the screen, where they can ask questions about the platform's workflows, products and features.  

Carta's Natural Language Processing technology will find the most helpful Support Articles for that query within our knowledge base, and provide users with the right answer for their questions.

In the event a question needs to be escalated to a Support Agent, Carta users can also raise Support Cases without leaving the page, and they will have multiple support options available to fit their engagement preference.

Email Cases created through this workflow leverage user's session data and context to quickly route the Case to Subject Matter Experts, leading to faster resolution times. 

When Phone is selected as the preferred method, the most appropriate phone number is displayed based on the user's type and question, ensuring users get connected to the right Support Agent for their need, without inconvenient call transfers. 

Learn more about Carta's Help Center

New Carta Launch onboarding for early stage founders


What’s new?

Early stage founders can get self-onboard onto Carta Launch faster than ever before. Founders with up to $1M raised or 25 stakeholders or fewer can now create an account and onboard company data with ease, speed, and confidence for free.  

Carta Launch is live on Product Hunt! We'd so appreciate your upvote!

How it works

Sign up and create your account

  1. On carta.com/launch, click “Get Free Access” 
  2. Fill out a simple form with your company information to create your account.



Guided onboarding

  1. We designed the new onboarding experience to be friendly and guide you through each step



  1. With just Incorporation Documents and Common Stock Purchase Agreements, you can enter information about your Company, Founder Shares, and Users & Roles to complete your onboarding.
  2. Once you’ve reviewed and activated your account, you’re all set to get started on Carta.

  1. Your free Carta Launch plan is suited to fit your immediate fundraising and equity needs and set your company up for success as it scales.


Additional resources 

  • For step by step instructions for how to get started find our video guide here
  • For more information about what is included in Launch, check out this video or check out our most recent blog post. 
  • For any additional questions, please reach out to partners@carta.com or get help through our in-app support. 





Carta Total Comp Updates: Scorecard Export, Next Twelve Months Vesting and More

Check out the exciting new updates we’ve made to Bands, Scorecard and Admin pages 

Next Twelve Months (NTM) Equity Ratio

Equity Ratio is now being calculated using Next Twelve Months (NTM) equity rather than Total Equity granted to the employee. The new formula for Equity Ratio is as follows: 

An employee’s next twelve months (NTM) equity divided by the target annual equity for a new hire today.

Why did we make this change? 

The Carta Total Comp Scorecard is designed to provide a clear view of the compensation health of your business. In order to build a score that better highlights attrition risk, we’ve changed the calculation for equity ratio to be based on unvested equity that will vest in the next twelve months. 

Employees compensated below market rate are at risk of attrition, as they would be paid more in a new role than if they were to stay in their current position. 

Vested equity does not incentivize employees, because it is already earned, and therefore does not help drive retention; put another way, vested equity is already “in the bank.” Calculating a health score that includes vested equity could lead to overlooking employees who are mostly vested and therefore at risk of going to work elsewhere. 

The additional benefit of NTM is that it allows you to compare equity compensation on the same annualized timeframe as salary. 

Additional Details

While Equity Ratio will be calculated by using NTM going forward, we will continue to show Total Equity on the company and employee Scorecard. 

Scorecard Export

You can now easily download a CSV of the entire scorecard by clicking on the “Export” button. The CSV will contain all of the available columns, regardless of whether they are enabled in the column selector.    

Admin Page

Review and modify employee details from the new Admin Settings page. This page has a complete view of all employees synced from the HRIS and cap table. 

What’s changing?

Navigate to the Admins page from the Carta Total Comp top navigation bar. From there you can access the “Roles and permissions” tab along with the “Employees” tab

New Bands Version

You can now see the date of the most recent Benchmark version in the Plan and Bands page. With the Preview plan feature, you can review the impact that updated benchmarking data has on the Scorecard prior to applying the new Plan. 

Why did we make this change? 

When benchmarking data is current, it better enables you to be competitive in today's market with the offers you take to candidates and employees. 

Job Area Descriptions and Example Job Titles

Our Roles and Levels are now defined in-app. 

Why is this important?

Carta's leveling framework provides a foundation for your company to provide career pathing for employees and to review pay fairness for each job area and level. Without consistent leveling, companies can not accurately compare their employees to market rate data, limiting their ability to effectively hire and retain talent. 

To help our customers ensure accurate and consistent leveling, we are now providing further descriptions for each job area we support, so users can make more informed leveling decisions based on commonly used job titles.

What’s changing?

We have added a “Learn more” link in the "Example title" column in the "Bands" tab. This link will launch a modal where you can see sample job titles and descriptions for roles in each job area. 


Carta has released a share activity report to help stakeholders track their public holdings

What’s new?

Public company stakeholders can now download share activity reports that capture their transaction activity and change in shares held during any period.

How it works:

By clicking on the new Statements tab, public company stakeholders enter in the start and end date that they would like to analyze:


The resulting report captures holdings at the beginning and ending of the period, and captures any transactions that cause an increase or decrease in the number of shares the participant holds.

Overall change in ownership is tracked in the Portfolio at the end of period section. Holdings are separated into shares originating from ESPP (Employee Stock Purchase Plan) and non-ESPP sources. The section shows holdings in these categories at the beginning and end of the period.


The Equity transactions in period section captures all transactions to equity (non-ESPP) shares during the period.


The following transactions are captured in this section, including the net effect of the transactions on a stakeholder's holdings

  • Option exercises, including the effect of any shares sold to cover option cost and taxes
  • RSU settlements, including any shares sold or withheld to cover taxes
  • Shares sold
  • Shares transferred in to Carta
  • Shares transferred out from Carta

The ESPP (Employee Stock Purchase Plan) transactions in period section captures all transactions that affect ESPP holdings.

This section captures the transactions below, including the net effect of the transactions on a stakeholder's holdings

  • ESPP purchases
  • Sale of ESPP stock
  • ESPP shares transferred in
  • ESPP Shares transferred out

The report also captures transactions that have been entered into Carta for record-keeping purposes. These transactions do not affect holdings and typically reflect transactions where shares are held or sold at an outside brokerage. 

Transactions in this section include:

  • Option cashless sale or hold transactions facilitated by outside brokers (where shares are sold or held outside of Carta)
  • Option exercises where shares are delivered or held outside of Carta
  • RSU settlements where shares are sold or held by outside brokers

Who can use this?

All public company stakeholders

Timing:

Stakeholders will be able to access this report through their portfolios starting 7/9/2021

Effective Dates for Post-Termination Exercise Period (PTEP)

Post-termination exercise period (PTEP) refers to the amount of time an option holder has after termination to exercise their options. It is now possible to change the PTEP to give employees more or less time to exercise. This can happen on a one-off basis, or across many grants at once. 

What is new with this release?

It is now possible to enter an effective date for the post-termination exercise period in Carta. This is needed to track changes over time and to have more accurate financial reporting.

Modifying the PTEP 

The PTEP can be modified for a specific grant by selecting ‘Modify post-termination period’.

The original grant and the current PTEP values are visible on the left side of the ‘Modify port-termination exercise period screen’. 

Select ‘Add Modification’, then enter an effective date for this change, select a modification reason, select the new modification details, then select ‘Save this modification’.

It is also possible to update the PTEP across multiple grants at once. 

More information is available in this support article

Note: Changing the post-termination exercise periods can have tax and accounting consequences and may need board approval, so consult your legal administrators before making any changes.


Public Cash Exercising Redesign

Users: Option holders of public companies
Platform: Web (iOS and Android coming soon)


With an objective to unify the cash exercising experience between private and public companies, we've enhanced the Public "Cash" Exercising flow on Web to make the steps more seamless, intuitive and easy to follow. Implementing these changes to the exercising workflow allows users to review all the important details relating to their option grant exercise in a step-by-step manner, eliminating confusion about tax withholdings and allows them to better understand the stages of their exercise.

While our previous Cash Exercising workflow for public companies got us some great mileage, our processes and their caveats have evolved, which called for a cleaner, simpler and an overall better user experience. Below are some of the highlights that the new Cash Exercising workflow will introduce:

  1. Step-by-step procedure: Intuitive and easy to follow, allowing the user to fully understand the process
  2. Improved tax estimation/information: Targeted tax withholdings information provided to user with respect to the option grant type being exercised
  3. Cleaner UI: Revamped headings, body text, call to action, helpful support links and more!

ISO 100K Dashboard

Get the transparency you need to manage ISO/NSO splits with the new ISO 100K dashboard in Carta.

Who this affects

All Carta customers can now access the dashboard under Compliance > ISO 100K.

What's new

The 100K rule for ISOs has been a historically opaque concept in Carta - customers and their legal counsel have often found it difficult to understand how the application of the rule results in the specific bifurcation of ISO vs NSO shares in a particular option grant.

The new ISO 100K dashboard brings a new level of transparency to the way in which ISO options are bifurcated according to Carta's automatic application of the 100K rules. For specific transactions and amendments that fall outside the purview of Carta's automatic bifurcation estimates, customers and their legal counsel can request access to the dashboard's grant editor feature, which allows legal administrators to change the ISO/NSO split estimated by Carta.

Last thing to mention: we worked closely with Orrick (one of Carta's law firm partners) to make sure we were solving this problem in a way that allowed our law firm partners to better support our customers. You can read more about that here on Carta's blog.

Timing

Available now to all Carta customers.

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