A company's valuation is a way of stating what the company is worth. For a startup, its valuation is typically an amount that is negotiated between the startup and investors as part of a financing.
However, valuation can mean different things in different contexts. For example, a startups valuation at its latest round of financing is distinct from a 409A valuation, which is what the startup will use to set the exercise price for stock options it issues to service providers.
A concise guide for startup founders to understand the basics of 409A valuations, when you'll need them, and the risks of not relying on them.