Average Startup CEO Salary Declines – Pay Gap Widens in 2024

Early-stage CEOs saw modest increases while later stage startups saw significant reductions

SAN FRANCISCO, April 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Kruze Consulting, the startup accounting and CFO consulting firm servicing more than 800 venture funded startup clients, released new data on CEO salaries today. The report, based on anonymized payroll data, is the longest running and largest startup CEO salary report in the world. While the salaries of startup CEOs declined on average, early-stage CEOs saw modest pay increases and Series B CEOs endured a 10% pay cut. The pay gap between female and male CEOs remains persistent at $14,000, but expanded on a percentage basis due to the decline in average salaries.

“The CEO salary data collected this year reflects some resilience in the early-stage startup ecosystem and turmoil in the later stage market. Seed and Series A startups saw solid pay moves whereas Series B CEOs’ salaries came down on average. While the volume of funding rounds was lower, the quality of companies that raised Seed and Series A rounds were strong, and their CEOs were able to command better pay compared to the prior year,” said Healy Jones, Vice President at Kruze Consulting. “The gender pay gap is concerning, because it hasn’t recovered to 2019 levels since the massive discrepancy that opened up during the pandemic.”

In 2019, the gender pay gap was $5,000 then expanded to $45,000 during the pandemic. Since 2020, it’s recovered somewhat but has remained at $14,000, around 10%, for the past two years. Since professional startup investors are typically involved in executive pay decisions, this is a place where VCs have an opportunity to affect change. We’ve conducted this study annually since 2018 in order to equip Founders and investors with the data they need to make informed decisions when approaching executive compensation.

The average startup CEO salary was $142,000 in 2023 and slightly declined to $141,000 in 2024. For CEOs of Series B startups, the average salary declined almost 10% from $251,000 last year to $227,000 in 2024. Series A CEOs saw a 6.5% increase in salaries, up from $168,000 in 2023 to $179,000 in 2024. Seed stage CEO pay averages increased 2.3%, from $129,000 in 2023 to $132,000 in 2024. Only the best startups were able to raise Seed and Series A rounds recently, driving the increase in CEO pay. The past 2 years have been very difficult for Series B and beyond companies to fundraise, so those executives are responding by keeping executive compensation lower to preserve capital.

About Kruze Consulting

Kruze is a leading provider of accounting, tax, CFO and finance advice to over 800+ startups across the US, and has been named as one of the fastest growing CPA firms in the country. To date, Kruze’s clients have raised over $15 billion in venture capital and are market-leading Saas, software, eCommerce, biotech and FinTech startups. Founded in 2012 by Vanessa Kruze, a Big Four alum, startup controller and CPA, the firm manages accounting, tax, finance, and HR for some of the fastest growing startups. Everything including interim CFO Consulting, financial modeling, startup tax returns, venture debt consulting, 409A valuations, bookkeeping, AR/AP, and early-stage fundraising advice can be seamlessly managed by the professionals at Kruze. Visit https://kruzeconsulting.com/ to learn more.

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SOURCE Kruze Consulting