COVID-19 induced declines in private and public company valuations have left many employee stock options “underwater” or “out-of-the-money”, i.e., exercise prices exceeding fair market value. This is a problem for employees and companies alike. Underwater options no longer serve their retention and incentivization objective, but nevertheless use up finite authorized shares and count against authorized

Private companies in the gig economy like Uber and Airbnb would love to issue compensatory equity to their platform participants, just like they’re able to do with their employees. The problem is that the exemption from registration for compensatory issuances only covers issuances to employees and consultants of the issuer.  Last July, however, the Securities