An option constitutes the right to subscribe new shares of the company, provided that the terms of the option right are fulfilled. Options are not usually an actual investment instrument, but they may be used as a part of the investment, especially if a business angel invests sweat equity or networks. Options can in that case be linked to the achievement of targets proposed to the investor. If the targets are achieved, the options, too, will be realised.

Option rights are also used to encourage and establish a sense of commitment in the personnel and occasionally to secure the holdings of certain shares (anti-dilution).