EquityBee, the Israeli startup helping employees exercise their stock options, has raised $6.6 million to launch its business in the US from a California office. The round was led by Group11, with participation from Battery Ventures and LocalGlobe.

When employees leave a startup, they have a limited amount of time to exercise their stock options before the options expire. The cost to exercise can well exceed a person’s ability to pay; EquityBee cites that 50 percent of employees forgo their stock options because they can’t afford it.

“As a serial entrepreneur and being part of the startup sphere for the last 15 years, I have witnessed countless employees, colleagues, and friends lose out on a significant part of their compensation because they couldn’t afford to exercise the options they worked so hard to earn. EquityBee is changing the situation and helping startup builders,” says Oren Barzilai, CEO of EquityBee.

The Israeli startup has designed a system where employees, called “startup builders,” can partner with its investor community to access capital, exercise stock options, and become shareholders. The employees and the investors then share a portion of any future exit gains.

“The US is home to over 525,000 tech companies employing over 11.2 million tech workers of whom 6 million work for private tech companies. While inconceivable, as it stands today, a vast amount of these workers do not get to exercise or finance their stock options [and] thus lose annually about about $30 billion. This is why we invested in EquityBee. EquityBee aims to solve this massive market failure and help millions of employees realize what is rightfully theirs,” explained Dovi Frances, a founding partner at Group 11 who is joining the startup’s board.

EquityBee was founded in 2017 by three entrepreneurs and childhood best friends: Barzilai, Oded Golan (CPO), and Mody Radashkovich (COO). The funding brings the total amount raised to $8.3 million.

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