CEO salary
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Average Startup CEO Salary Declines, With Pay Gap Widening in 2024

Kruze Consulting, the startup accounting and CFO consulting firm servicing more than 800 venture-funded startup clients, recently released new data on CEO salaries. 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. In contrast, Series B CEOs endured a 10 percent pay cut. The pay gap between female and male CEOs remains persistent at $14,000. However, the gap expanded on a percentage basis due to the decline in average salaries.

Graphs of CEO Salary Data

Kruze Consulting 2
Kruze Consulting
Kruze Consulting 2
Kruze Consulting

The insights behind the graphs

Startup CEO Salary by gender

“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 has recovered somewhat, but has remained at $14,000, around 10 percent, 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.

Startup CEO salary by stage

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 percent from $251,000 last year to $227,000 in 2024. Series A CEOs saw a 6.5 percent increase in salaries, up from $168,000 in 2023 to $179,000 in 2024. Seed stage CEO pay averages increased 2.3 percent, 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. As a result, these executives are responding by keeping executive compensation lower to preserve capital.

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