Best ESOP management software | LTSE Equity

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What is ESOP management software?

ESOP management software is a specialized tool designed to aid in the management and administration of employee stock ownership plans, otherwise known as ESOPs. ESOP is a benefit program that enables employees to purchase company stock at a predetermined price. It is designed to attract and retain talented employees by offering them the opportunity to own a stake in the startup. 

Employees receive stock options that they can exercise after meeting specific conditions, such as completing a vesting period. ESOPs allow your employees to benefit from the startup's success and participate in its financial growth.

However, managing an ESOP can be a complex process, which is where the ESOP management software comes into play. This software can help you manage ESOPs easily by automating many of the tasks involved, from calculating participant balances to generating required reports. The software provides you with a centralized platform for tracking and managing ESOPs, including features like automated valuations, compliance monitoring, and communication tools between employees and administrators.

When do startups need ESOP management software?

Regardless of size or funding progress, your startup should adopt ESOP management software as soon as you start issuing equity.

Tracking ESOP transactions and changes may seem manageable for early startups due to the small size of the startup and the limited number of investors. However, relying on manual processes or general tools like Excel can quickly become laborious and prone to errors. ESOP management software helps you streamline the process, ensuring accurate and efficient management. 

As a result, your early-stage startup can focus on its core business without worrying about administrative tasks and avoid incurring extra expenses. Adopting ESOP software from this early stage helps you establish a strong foundation for future growth. Lastly, as your startup expands and issues more equity, having a robust ESOP management system prevents complications and complexities from arising later on.

Startups going through Series A funding will typically experience an influx of funding and potential growth. This can make managing ESOP at this level more complex. At this stage, ESOP management software will provide you with the tools to track and handle the growing number of equity grants efficiently.

Secondly, with your experiencing an expansion in the employee base,  ESOP management software will help you maintain accurate stock option allocation and records and simplify communication with employees regarding their equity. Furthermore, increased funding indicates higher scrutiny from investors and stakeholders. Having a robust ESOP management system in place enhances collaboration, transparency, compliance, and reporting capabilities. This can help you instill confidence in investors and ensure smooth operations.

The role of ESOP management software will become more pronounced at Series B funding as your startup expands its employee base, faces higher investor scrutiny, and deals with more complex equity structures. ESOP management software will help you to manage a larger pool of stock options efficiently, comply with regulations, and improve reporting. It also facilitates scenario modeling, option pool management, and customizable reporting to support sophisticated equity plans.  It will also help you attract and retain top talent by providing user-friendly platforms for your employees to view and exercise their stock options.

Why do startups need ESOP management software?

  1. Streamlined Workflow: ESOP management software automates and simplifies the administrative tasks associated with employee stock options, reducing the time and effort required. This saves startups valuable resources and allows them to focus on core business operations.
  2. Tracking and Compliance: ESOP management software ensures accurate tracking of stock option grants, vesting schedules, and exercises, minimizing errors and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. It helps startups maintain proper records, generate reports, and comply with relevant laws and regulations.
  3. Communication and Engagement: ESOP management software provides a centralized platform for employees to access and manage their stock options. This improves communication, transparency, and engagement by allowing employees to view their equity holdings, exercise options, and receive updates on company performance.
  4. Scalability and Growth: As startups grow and expand their workforce, managing employee stock options becomes more complex. ESOP management software offers scalability, accommodating the increasing number of employees and stock option grants while providing a streamlined process to handle growth effectively.
  5. Exit Events and Equity Liquidity: During exit events such as acquisitions or IPOs, ESOP management software facilitates the management and conversion of stock options, ensuring a smooth transition for employees.

Things to consider when choosing ESOP management software

ESOP management software is crucial when it comes to effective employee equity compensation. With the potential to make or break startups through their ability to attract and retain employees, startups must find the best possible solution for their needs. To help with the process, consider the following questions:

Is it easy to use? 

Your ESOP management software should not only be highly functional and have the features you need. It also needs to be straightforward to use. Without an accessible user interface, you’ll burn countless hours trying to understand the software instead of spending it on more productive areas such as networking and fundraising.

Will it scale with your startup’s growth?

As your startup grows in size, so too will your ESOPs. Your software must be able to handle these developments. Keep in mind that some solutions are better suited for smaller startups with simpler ESOPs while others can accommodate even the largest of organizations.

Will there be support for you when you encounter issues?

ESOP management isn't always as straightforward as you might hope. This is why it's crucial that your solution comes with reliable support and knowledge bases to assist you with all relevant matters.

Is it appropriate for your budget? 

No two ESOP management software are priced equally or provide the same level of functionality. Before settling on a solution, carefully consider its cost compared to what your startup truly needs. You might be surprised to discover that the more affordable option delivers more value!

Will it address your reporting and compliance needs?

ESOP management software should help startups in ensuring compliance with regulations. Features such as automated reporting, tax calculations, and document generation are examples of valuable functionalities that contribute to a compliant ESOP.

Does it come with scenario modeling?

A reliable ESOP management software should enable you to visualize various scenarios and projections, enabling you to evaluate the impact on employee ownership and overall company equity.

Top ESOP management software

With so many ESOP management software options in the market, how can startups even decide where to begin? Read on to learn more about the most popular solutions out there:

Carta is no dark horse when it comes to ESOP management software. Used by countless startups across the country, Carta offers a popular yet highly functional solution that caters to even the largest startups.



  • Wide-ranging capabilities: Carta offers a comprehensive suite of critical functions and features that cater to the needs of both large companies and startups, from ESOP management to cap table management and beyond.
  • Simple user interface (UI): The intuitive, visual, and customizable user interface (UI) ensures that users can easily access the required information and perform necessary tasks with minimal effort.
  • Extensive resources: Carta provides complementary documentation and a wealth of resources (e.g. reports, whitepapers, webinars) to assist users in understanding their product and relevant topics.


  • Cost: Carta is one of the most expensive solutions in the market. This may make it relatively inaccessible for smaller startups. Their pricing also isn't always transparent and often includes hidden fees and unannounced price fluctuations.
  • In-house 409As: Carta conducts 409A valuations internally instead of employing an independent, third-party appraiser.
  • Excessive functionalities: The broad range of functionalities offered by Carta might be excessive for most startups looking for a purely ESOP management solution.

Pulley's easy-to-use solution isn't as well-established as most of its competitors. Regardless, with a commitment to quality, they are quickly becoming a popular choice for many startups.



  • User-friendly interface: Pulley’s clean and intuitive interface allows users to start managing their ESOPs from the get-go.
  • Startup centric: Pulley’s product is designed to satisfy the unique needs of early-stage startups.
  • Good customer service: Pulley takes pride in its exceptional customer service team who comprehensively addresses their users’ concerns and questions.


  • Lack of cap table health checkups: As opposed to alternatives like LTSE Equity, Pulley does not offer cap table health checkups as part of its services.
  • Limited modeling abilities: Pulley's modeling features are relatively restricted compared to other solutions as they only provide waterfall modeling, making it difficult to make informed ESOP-related decisions.
  • Slow onboarding process: Onboarding with Pulley can be a relatively slow process, taking up to 10 days.

Eqvista's ESOP management software brings together the best of Eqvista: their deep valuation expertise and dedication to creating a straightforward solution.



  • Valuation expertise: Eqvista possesses extensive experience in conducting various valuations, including 409As.
  • Straightforward UI: The software offers a straightforward and intuitive user interface, enabling users to easily navigate and use it for their ESOP management purposes.
  • Advanced capabilities: Eqvista provides advanced tools and services, such as automated reporting. It also allows for seamless data import and compilation from multiple sources.


  • Lacks key functions: Eqvista’s base plan does not include key features like waterfall modeling, 409A valuations, and cap table setup. Access to these features requires upgrading to their premium plan which can be costly for startups with limited resources.
  • In-house 409As: Eqvista conducts 409A valuations internally instead of through an accredited external valuator.
  • Not suitable for early-stage: Eqvista's reporting and valuation features are more suitable for companies in later stages of growth, potentially making it less suitable for beginners or startups. Additionally, their freemium plan may require startups to pay for basic support, such as setting up.

When it comes to ESOP management software, AngelList is a surprising newcomer despite its established reputation. That said, despite having entered the space only in 2021, they are quickly building a positive reputation.



  • Combined offering: AngelList's innovative stack equity offering integrates equity and cap table management, business banking, and advisor equity grants into a single offering.
  • Startup recruitment: AngelLlist is a solid platform for recruitment and networking, serving as an alternative to Linkedin. It connects prospective talent and investors with relevant opportunities.
  • Networking: Even beyond ESOP management, AngelList helps investors, founders, and employees network with each other.


  • Limited cap table functions: With a focus on fundraising and networking, AngelList's actual features are limited. ESOP management along with cap table management and more do not offer as in-depth functionality as alternatives.
  • Pricing: AngelList's pricing structure can be expensive, particularly for larger teams. The pricing is based on the number of stakeholders, including employees with shares, which can increase costs for companies with a significant workforce.
  • Emphasis on recruitment/networking: While AngelList offers ESOP management as part of its integrated solution, it may be redundant for startups that already have their own HR and banking systems implemented.

Shareworks is a reputable ESOP management solution that aims to assist startups manage their employee stock plans and ultimately retain, motivate, and attract hires. 



  • Mobile accessibility: Shareworks offers a mobile version that allows users to conveniently access their portfolios.
  • Comprehensive dashboard: Shareworks' dashboard provides a comprehensive view of critical ESOP information, presenting it in a clear and easily readable format.
  • Specialized guidance: Shareworks offers specialized guidance and support from a dedicated team of experts who assist startups in managing their ESOP.


  • In-house 409As: Shareworks conducts 409A valuations in-house instead of utilizing external, independent third-party appraisers.
  • Slow interface: Some users have expressed concerns about the sluggishness of Shareworks' interface, which may impact the efficiency and user experience.
  • Customer support issues: There have been reports of inadequate customer support, including difficulties in issue resolution and longer response times, which may impact the overall experience for ESOP management.

LTSE Equity provides users with a solution that enables them to achieve whatever mission they have set for their startups. With affordable and transparent pricing along with a range of key features, from ESOP management to scenario modeling, LTSE Equity has established itself as a solid solution provider.



  • Great for growing startups: LTSE Equity is wholly capable of supporting startups throughout their entire journey, from seed to series. Even beyond ESOP management, it also offers cap table management, scenario modeling, and even cap table health checkups.
  • Fair pricing: LTSE Equity provides transparent pricing options that are budget-friendly for startups, ensuring cost-effectiveness with multiple plans available.
  • Independent 409A valuation: LTSE Equity is one of the only solutions that provides startups the choice to pick from a number of external, independent 409A valuators.


  • No LLC support: LTSE Equity currently does not offer native support for LLCs. That said, with the right steps LLCs can be accommodated.
  • Heavy focus on cap tables/equity management: LTSE Equity primarily focuses on equity and cap table management. Because of this, additional functions such as board consent applications and on-payment exercises are not yet available and are in development.
  • No Rule 701 management: Though LTSE Equity can support Rule 701 analysis, it may have limitations in conducting Rule 701 management tasks, requiring additional steps or alternative solutions for adequate Rule 701 compliance.

Top reasons founders choose LTSE Equity

There isn't a shortage of ESOP management software in the market. That said, over 30,000 startups have chosen LTSE Equity as their solution for good reason. This is why this is the case:

  • Easy-to-use platform: We offer an intuitive platform for ESOP management. With a user-friendly interface and positive user reviews, we provide a seamless experience, allowing users to efficiently manage their ESOPs without struggling with a steep learning curve.
  • Scalability: We cater to startups at various stages of growth. Whether it's conducting 409A valuations, ensuring compliance with Form 3921, modeling different scenarios, or managing ESOPs, our solution scales to meet the evolving needs of startups all the way to exit.
  • Dedicated customer support: Our team of experts provides exceptional customer support for ESOP-related inquiries and challenges. With their knowledge and guidance, startups can navigate any questions or issues they encounter, ensuring they have the necessary assistance to successfully manage their ESOPs.

LTSE Equity FAQs

What makes LTSE Equity different from other platforms?

LTSE Equity is created by founders, for founders. Our full suite of equity management features reflects our real-life experience and insights, empowering your startup to prosper and endure.


How much does LTSE Equity cost?

Our pricing is strictly founder-friendly and scales as you grow. Our plans are also completely transparent, with no hidden costs or surprise price hikes.


Does LTSE Equity provide a free trial or demo?

Yes! Dive into our full-featured demo now and discover every benefit LTSE Equity has to offer—no sign-ups required.


How can I switch to LTSE Equity?

Simply send us your current spreadsheet or cap table, and we’ll get your details onboarded within a week.


How can I ask more questions about LTSE Equity?

Not sure which plan to choose? Looking for a live demo? Schedule a call with our team now.

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