Compensation philosophy

We are on a mission to make care flows work harder than care teams (see https://awellhealth.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/AH/pages/3499655169). We have designed our compensation packages and philosophy to attract, retain and incentivize the best talent in the world who share our philosophy and desire to work on this mission.

Please keep in mind that we don’t see our compensation philosophy/framework as a static document. We plan to update it every year and, therefore, welcome your feedback!

Compensation principles

Our compensation philosophy is based on a set of principles that we strongly believe in and that are consistent with our https://awellhealth.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/AH/pages/3503882307.

People join Awell for the exceptional journey ahead, and are paid well during this journey

As Awell is still a relatively small startup, we won’t be able to pay FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix & Google) salaries. However, we’re convinced that Awell has a lot to offer that these companies can’t: an opportunity to have a real, positive impact on the world, an agile and flexible work environment, a lot of freedom and responsibility for each team member, and, most likely, the opportunity to be part of a health tech success story.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t pay our team well. Our base compensation packages are based on 50th percentile benchmark data from Radford (which is based on all companies, not only startups) and we offer the opportunity to exchange equity for more salary (to get closer to the 75th percentile salary benchmark).

Impact, not experience nor age drives compensation

At Awell, we don’t believe there is a strong correlation between experience or age and impact. Therefore, your impact on the business will drive your level and, therefore, your compensation.

Fair & equal

We ensure that those with the same role and responsibilities who are at the same level are paid equitably.

However, we don't think it’s fair to pay people the same salary wherever they live as this would mean that our team members in the US would be far worse off than our team members in India. Therefore, to ensure our compensation is also fair, we make an adjustment based on their cost of living.

Simple, not simplistic

We strive to have a compensation framework that is simple and easy to understand. This doesn’t mean our framework is simplistic. We do extensive analysis (based on data) to ensure our compensation is fair and attractive.

Everyone is an owner

We want every Awell team member to be and act like a shareholder within a culture of collective achievement. Everyone should be a missionary.

Performance-based increases come through the increase of equity value

We fully agree with the individual bonuses approach from Molly Graham in this First Round Review article:

Startups should avoid performance-based increases for the first couple years an employee is with the company. As an early employee, most of the value people should be getting is the increase in the value of their equity as the company grows. Giving people performance bumps will get complicated and potentially unfair fast. But, the logic follows, if an increase is absolutely necessary, it should come in the form of equity — not base salary.

Increasing the company value is our performance-based bonus. We all have the same objective.

Compensation components

Our total compensation package includes salary, equity and benefits.

Salary

Every base (gross) salary at Awell is derived from our salary formula. The formulaic approach minimizes biased decisions about compensation as much as possible.

Our salary formula is:

50th percentile benchmark salary of the “base location” x cost of living adjustment

Benchmark salary

We use Radford to calculate benchmark salaries and use a matrix with 7 roles and 6 levels:

  • Roles: Software Engineering, Product Management, Product Design, Sales, Sales Engineering, Marketing and Customer Success

  • Levels: Entry, Developing, Career, Advanced, Expert, Principal

As our research showed that benchmarks and cost of living do not correlate well between the US and the rest of the world, we decided to use 2 different “base locations” to gather benchmarks: “US Tier 1 cities” (SF/Bay Area, NYC, Seattle and Los Angeles) for the US and the United Kingdom for the “rest of the world”.

Cost of living adjustment

We use the Numbeo “cost of living plus rent index” to create cost-of-living categories with a cost-of-living salary adjustment factor.

US

  • Very high cost of living (Numbeo index >75): 100% of benchmark salary

  • High cost of living (Numbeo index 65-75): 90% of benchmark salary

  • Intermediate cost of living (Numbeo index <65): 80% of benchmark salary

Rest of the world

  • Very high cost of living (Numbeo index >80): 130% of benchmark salary

  • High cost of living (Numbeo index 65-80): 100% of benchmark salary

  • Intermediate cost of living (Numbeo index 55-65): 90% of benchmark salary

  • Low cost of living (Numbeo index <55): 80% of benchmark salary

Equity

All full-time (80% or more) employees should be Awell shareholders and have an equity stake. Our equity packages are based on the following formula:

Base equity package based on Level (as % of salary) x risk factor

Level

The more impact you have at Awell (so the higher your level), the more equity you’ll receive. The base packages are calculated as follows:

  • Entry: 30% of salary

  • Developing: 40% of salary

  • Career: 55% of salary

  • Advanced: 75% of salary

  • Expert: 85% of salary

  • Principal: 100% of salary

Note: in our opinion, team members in the same role and at the same level should get the same equity package. Therefore, the base package is calculated on the salary of that position in the UK, not on the actual salary (that could differ depending on the location).

Risk factor

When you join a startup, there’s a big risk difference between starting as the 5th person versus starting as the 50th. This is reflected in the value of the stock options a new Awell team member receives: The risk level factor is 1 for the 10th employee and 0.25 for the 50th employee and decreases linearly in between. This means that the 50th employee will receive 25% of the equity options that the 10th employee received in the same position.

Equity specifics

Equity vests 25% after the first year of employment (1-year cliff), and 1/36th each month for the following 3 years (4-year vesting period). This is standard vesting at almost all startups.

Salary & equity packages

As we understand that the desired salary vs. equity ratio is dependent on individuals' personal circumstances, we offer 3 different compensation packages and allow each team member to make a personal choice. We won’t draw any conclusions from your choice.

Package

Salary

Equity

Package

Salary

Equity

More equity

0.9x base salary

1.3 base equity

Base

1.0x base salary

1.0x base equity

More salary

1.1x base salary

0.65x base equity

Benefits

We want our employees to be happy, efficient and spend their time on a meaningful purpose. So we are providing a stimulating environment and perks:

Additionally, there are some country-specific benefits that are either legally required or that we consider “non-optional” (e.g. healthcare insurance in the US). These will be communicated on an individual basis.