This is amazing. In 2001 Google hired executive search firm Heidrich & Struggles to help recruit a CEO. As their fee, the firm negotiated warrants which allowed them to purchase 1.2 million Series B shares of Google for $0.30 per share. After exercising these warrants, they sold their shares today and netted $128 million. Not bad for finding one Chief Executive Officer.
The firm will now have to change it name, since there will be no more Struggles for these folks.
Lesson: it’s not a bad idea for professional service providers (and contractors at early stage companies) to negotiate for stock or warrants (maybe in exchanged for reduced or waived fees) with promising companies. I know many early stage CEOs who would trade stock for services, since cash is often more precious than equity early on.