We create your individual ESOP & VSOP contracts

Consulting & contract preparation for start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises

Employee shareholdings enable you to attract, retain and motivate valuable employees

Individual investment programs by specialized corporate lawyers and experienced entrepreneurs

Comprehensive, transparent, cost-effective

Man pointing at work on computer screenMan pointing at work on computer screen

Employee participation
- what is it actually?

Employee stock option plans (ESOPs) have been the talk of the town in recent years. What options do you have for giving your employees a share in the company's success? What forms of employee stock ownership are there? We will be happy to explain them to you.

Why? First and foremost, employee shareholdings are a building block of a successful and sustainable strategy to attract, retain and motivate your employees.

"Incentivizing by sharing in the company's success is the only way to stand a chance in the war for talent."

Christian Miele,
President Federal Association
German Startups

Why employee share ownership?

Long-term
Employee retention
Attracting
top talent
Sustained
Motivation increase
Optimization of
own liquidity
Strengthening the corporate culture
& togetherness

For whom are employee shares suitable?

Start-ups (with/without investors)

Small and medium-sized enterprises

Large Corporates & Subsidiaries

Do you want to introduce an ESOP or VSOP?

Our partner attorneys have been advising companies in the creative and technology industries in particular on corporate law and all closely related issues such as financing rounds and exits, ESOP/VSOP, IP/IT rights and data protection for years.

A perfect fit for your company
Our programs are adapted to your needs.
From proven experts
We are experienced entrepreneurs & venture capital lawyers.
Cost transparency at a fixed price
No surprises, no hidden consulting fees.

Three reasons for expert advice

The design of your participation program is highly dependent on the structures and circumstances of your company. In addition, there are numerous factors to consider from a company and employee perspective, which make individual consulting essential in order to avoid costly omissions.

1
Avoid expensive mistakes and pitfalls
2
Legal security
3
Time saving

From experts in employee share ownership

Our partner attorneys at trustberg specialize in corporate law and venture capital and are represented in Germany with offices in Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg.

trustberg partner Dr. Christopher Hahn is himself co-founder of various startups as well as author of leading books (e.g. "Virtuelle Mitarbeiterbeteiligung") and thus a proven expert on digital processes and their legal implementation. His area of expertise primarily includes the participation of employees, executives and other key persons.

Dr. Christopher Hahn
- Corporate Law Attorney & Author
Published: SpringerGabler

Our offers

We create your ESOP and VSOP contract - adapted to the requirements, situation and goals of your company.

Our packages for you
1
VSOP Starter Package for Start-Ups
For young companies without investors without significant turnover
2
VSOP complete package with all relevant clauses
Meets all requirements - regardless of shareholder structure or size
3
Customized ESOP for your requirements
Custom-fit ESOP construct for your shareholders and corporate structure
Excerpt from our range of services
Entrepreneurial advice on your goals and opportunities
Individual legal advice on your ESOP/VSOP construct & coordination with your corporate law structures by our partner attorneys
Preparation & negotiation of a comprehensive program by our specialized lawyers
Your ESOP contract
The individual subscription form for your employees
Execution Note
Clauses for existing and new investors
Severance right of the Company
Buy-out right & fade-out regulation
Customized components that are measured according to the requirements of your company
MORE EXPERIENCE
Non-binding and transparent consulting; free initial consultation; contract preparation at a fixed price without hidden costs

Our process

From initial contact to finished ESOP / VSOP in just a few days

01
Conversation to understand your needs

We want to understand your business and your unique needs in order to create the right equity program.

02
Personal consultation and preparation of contracts

You have various options for designing your participation program. We advise you to find the right solution for the company and its employees.

03
Sending of your immediately usable contract work

Within a few days we create your desired participation program. This is ready for immediate use to involve your employees in the company's success.

"Our new virtual company-s shares are a top motivator."
HR Department Manager @ Medium-Sized Business
- Marianne W.
"Thanks to our VSOP, we were able to attract our first key employees quickly - despite significantly higher salary offers from other companies."
Founder @ Tech Start-Up
- Dawid R.
"I'm keen to share in our company's success without bearing any tax risks. This is now possible thanks to my virtual shares."
Tech Lead @ Tech Start-Up
- Moritz H.
"Six days from inquiry to first signed subscription form."
CEO @ Travel Start-Up
- Constantine O.

Information, examples, tips & more

VSOP
ESOP
Examples
Suitable ESOPs & VSOPs: entrepreneurs should consider this checklist before implementation

There are numerous aspects and options to consider when setting up a participation program. The following points are examples of some of the most common and important considerations that are crucial on the way to a tailored, effective participation program.

VSOP
ESOP
Examples
Solutions
Fair structuring of ESOPs and VSOPs: What do entrepreneurs need to consider?

If the agreement of a VSOP contains disadvantageous provisions to the detriment of the beneficiaries, the triggers of which lie solely in the decision-making power of the company or the investors and cannot be influenced by the beneficiaries, the virtual participation programme has failed in its purpose.

ESOP
VSOP
Examples
Why are employee share ownership schemes interesting for SMEs?

Often only associated with start-ups - in this article, we explain why employee participation is relevant far beyond the start-up scene and why it can also be an important instrument for SMEs.

ESOP
VSOP
Taxes
Examples
ESOP: Strong instrument, poor German implementation - VSOP as a solution

Employee participation is a key element of a successful and future-oriented corporate culture. A prominent model for this is the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Successfully implemented in many countries, the ESOP model has encountered considerable problems in Germany.

ESOP
VSOP
Examples
Solutions
Succession Planning with Employee Participation - an Early Instrument for Your Succession

Entrepreneurs do not simply retire: they hand over their company to a successor. However, the search for a suitable successor is becoming increasingly complicated for a variety of reasons. The greatest challenge lies in demographic change: There are too few potential successors.

Examples
Solutions
ESOP
VSOP
Preparing company succession with employee shareholdings

Germany as a business location is characterized by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The 3.6 million SMEs here generate around half of the gross national product. They also employ around 60 % of Germany's workforce subject to social insurance contributions.

Examples
Solutions
6 typical mistakes when involving employees

Employee ownership in companies is increasingly used as an instrument for employee motivation and retention, both in startups and SMEs. Companies with employee ownership are on average significantly more productive than comparable companies without employee ownership.

ESOP
VSOP
Examples
Solutions
Employee recruitment through employee stock ownership - a powerful tool for German SMEs

In recent years, German SMEs have had a huge problem: attracting new employees. It is even more difficult to attract skilled workers if you cannot pay high salaries. Nevertheless, you have the opportunity to attract top trained specialists - namely with employee shareholdings.

Solutions
Examples
Prepare company succession: Here's how!

For a long time, company succession worked according to the principle: the eldest son or, in a pinch, the daughter, a younger son or a nephew continue to run the company if the previous company manager wanted to pass on the baton. In some companies, business succession still works this way.

Examples
Solutions
Employee motivation - contemporary instruments for your company

Motivating your employees is more important than ever in times of a shortage of skilled workers. Top employees of generations Y and Z in particular attach great importance to their working environment. Flexibility and appreciation are important to them. There are various concepts for employee motivation.

VSOP
ESOP
Solutions
Exit of involved employees: Bad Leaver vs. Good Leaver

In the modern and fast-moving world of work, it is increasingly important for companies to attract, motivate and retain qualified employees in the long term. Innovative companies, especially start-ups and SMEs, are therefore increasingly using employee stock ownership programs such as ESOPs or VSOPs.

Examples
Attracting high potentials: What do they look for when selecting a job?

Almost all companies are subject to daily competition. If you want to be better than your competitors, you need to have top employees who can easily cope with new challenges and innovations. However, turnover is particularly high at the higher levels in the hierarchy.

VSOP
ESOP
Solutions
Employee retention - possible measures by the employer

Skills shortages, demographic change and other changes in the world of work mean that employers are constantly having to come up with new measures to attract, motivate and retain employees in the long term. Let's take a closer look at some of the most relevant measures!

ESOP
VSOP
Taxes
The key differences: ESOP vs. VSOP - real and virtual employee stock options

Employee shareholdings, especially in start-ups, aim to give employees a direct stake in the success and growth of the company instead of paying them a high salary. In addition, such shareholdings give employees real voting rights and allow them to significantly influence entrepreneurial decisions.

VSOP
ESOP
Examples
Practical examples: Real and virtual employee shareholdings

With real and virtual employee stock ownership plans (ESOP/VSOP), employees can participate directly in the success of "their" company. As an employer, you not only increase your attractiveness on the labor market, but also create constant performance incentives during the ongoing employment relationship.

VSOP
The virtual employee stock ownership plan (VSOP) at a glance

In the case of virtual stock option plans (VSOPs), employees are given largely the same economic status as a real shareholder by means of a contractual agreement, without actually participating in the company's share capital.

ESOP
Taxes
VSOP
Tax treatment of real and virtual employee stock options

Employee share ownership offers companies the opportunity to allow their employees to participate directly or indirectly in the company's success. Through participation, employees receive direct consideration and financial recognition for their own (increased) performance.

VSOP
Examples
What aspects employees look for in VSOP contracts

Virtual employee stock ownership plans (VSOPs) are an excellent way of circumventing the disadvantages - particularly in terms of administrative effort - of "real" shareholdings. VSOP contracts also have some tax advantages. However, employees should be aware of certain clauses that may be disadvantageous to them.

VSOP
Exit and profit sharing at VSOP - what's behind it?

VSOPs are virtual stock option plans. In this way, the employer gives the employee a share in the company's success without real company shares (such as GmbH shares or stock) changing hands.

ESOP
VSOP
Solutions
Cliff and Vesting Period: Basics of ESOPs and VSOPs

Employee stock ownership plans create attractive incentives for employees in key positions. At the same time, ESOPs and VSOPs (real and virtual shareholdings) are a proven means of increasing motivation and loyalty to the employer.

Frequently asked questions

Why should you consider an employee share ownership program?

What is the difference between virtual shares, VSOP, stock options, ESOP and phantom shares?

What is the difference between ESOP and VSOP?