On average, CTOs make more than CEOs at early-stage startups • ZebethMedia

New data from Kruze Consulting’s salary data from more than 200 startups show that CTOs, on average, are on higher salaries than their CEO counterparts. On average, co-founders make the same, but where there is a difference, the balance typically tips in the favor of the technical co-founder.
With a dataset of more than 200 startups, startup accountants Kruze Consulting found the balance leans toward the technical co-founder of a startup. Image Credits: Kruze Consulting (opens in a new window)
The data suggest that differences vary by stage and by industry. At Series A and beyond, the salary typically tips in the CEO’s favor. It’s easy to imagine early-stage companies needing to pay their technical leadership more, as they have a higher opportunity cost; especially in the Bay Srea, high-quality technical co-founders have their pick of high-paying, high-prestige jobs across the entire industry, with starting compensation packages significantly higher than at a startup.
Differences by stage. Data from: Kruze Consulting
Comparing industry to industry, healthcare and pure software/SaaS startups see the biggest discrepancies. Again, that makes sense if the opportunity cost is a factor; the vast majority of skills needed to build a SaaS company is directly transferable to some of the highest-paying developer and product roles at pretty much every company you can mention.
Data by industry. Data from: Kruze Consulting
The interesting outlier in the data is healthcare; it seems as if here, healthcare technical co-founders are particularly lucrative, and are able to attract higher wages as a result.
Of course, with a dataset of 200 or so, it’s possible there are some outliers in the data that skew things, but in terms of general trends, these numbers are congruent with the broader compensation numbers we are seeing across the ecosystem.
Kruze Consulting also has a CEO salary report it published earlier this year, which can help you figure out what the market rate is for a CEO in the current financial climate, and a CTO salary report it published today.

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