Startups offer more stock options to ease pay cut pain – ETtech


Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

Some of India’s main client web startups are providing further stock options to workers in a bid to retain them following broad pay cuts due to financial upheaval triggered by Covid-19.Online meals supply main Zomato, hospitality chain Oyo Hotels & Homes, grocery supply firm Grofers and mobility enterprise Bounce, are amongst these bulking up worker stock possibility swimming pools, after initiating wage reductions — necessary or voluntary — throughout the board, firm executives instructed ET.

In April, Zomato initiated a voluntary wage discount programme, which additionally gives affected workers’ further stock in lieu of the money cut from their pay cheques.

An estimated 2,700 workers, throughout ranges, have taken voluntary wage cuts, and had been then issued stock. Sources stated the Gurgaon-based firm was already holding unallocated stock in its Esops pool.

Grants could have Favourable TermsIn most different instances, the extra Esops are coming from the founders’ stakes of their corporations, the individuals cited above stated. SoftBank-backed on-line grocery supply firm Grofers is rising the scale of its Esop pool by a further $25 million, as a part of a brand new financing spherical that might see it elevate $60-70 million.

“Companies will be thinking of the principle of what level to compensate — can it be 1:1, or can it be higher? The grants may also have more favourable terms than the existing stock plans they have — lower priced and shorter vesting periods and because it’s against liquid cash, there is an effort to make it as attractive as possible,” a prime govt of a number one startup, instructed ET.

While Bounce which had introduced wage deductions, ranging between 20% and 60% had stated that whereas it’s also taking a look at paying due wage as quickly because the macroeconomic indicators return to normalcy, in lieu of the interim wage cut, workers will get Esops.

“This makes a lot of sense. Any company undertaking pay cuts, faces the risk of losing employees, and this (issuing additional stock) is one of the good levers to retain talent,” stated Harshil Mathur, chief govt of fin-tech firm Razorpay, which has a sturdy Esop programme.

When contacted by ET, Zomato and Oyo declined to remark, whereas Grofers and Bounce didn’t reply.

The Esop swimming pools of corporations akin to Paytm, Zomato and Oyo vary between 2.6% and 5.5% of their total shareholding, in accordance to information collated by Tracxn.

Part of appraisal course of

Last month, Paytm, India’s most extremely-valued unicorn, stated it should offer Rs 250 crore in Esops to excessive-performing workers and new hires.

“In this financial year, we will follow an Esop-led appraisal process and have budgeted Rs 250 crore for it. It is a gesture to appreciate our fellow team members who have worked hard and achieved the set milestones,” an organization spokesperson stated.

“This will move along even more in the next 2-3 quarters, because this is an issue no one has an easy solution to. India is still a relatively young ecosystem — for startups and VCs — capital or cap table restructuring is not something we have seen much of here,” Manish Kheterpal, managing associate at WaterBridge Ventures.

India’s startup ecosystem, significantly its client-dealing with, companies-targeted know-how corporations, has been in dire straits after the federal government enforced a compulsory lockdown to fight the pandemic. A current survey confirmed that companies collapsed in April, triggering a pointy spike in layoffs and reinforcing fears of a deep recession.

The IHS Markit Services Purchasing Managers’ Index plunged to 5.four in April from 49.three in March, an unprecedented contraction because the survey first started over 14 years in the past

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