India’s  top  startups made staff richer by $5b in 2021 through ESOPs

Indian startups are giving their employees reason to cheer in the festive season. Ten companies, including Paytm, Oyo, Zomato, Nykaa and Pharmeasy that have either listed this year or are preparing to do so, have generated close to $5.2 billion for their workers through their employee stock option plans (Esop).

Food-tech firm Zomato leads the pack with a stellar listing on the bourses. It had an Esop pool of $745 million at the time of the IPO, which more than doubled in value to over $1.5 billion at the closing share price on Friday.

The top 10 executives of the company hold options worth more than $210 million after Friday’s closing price, with co-founders Mohit Gupta, Gaurav Gupta and Gunjan Patidar alone holding cumulative stock options worth more than 1,100 crore ($150 million).

Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd, the operator of the Oyo hotel aggregator platform, follows Zomato with an Esop pool of about $1.1 billion at a company valuation of more than $10 billion. The largest beneficiary of the Esop pool at Oyo will be its global chief operating officer and chief product officer Abhinav Sinha, who holds options worth more than 1,100 crore, as reported by VCCircle in October.

India’s most-valued startup, Paytm, follows suit with an Esop pool worth $899 million calculated at a share price of 2,150—the upper end of the IPO price band. Two-thirds of the pool is owned by founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, who was allotted Esops for the first time in September, ahead of the firm’s IPO.

Online pharmacy PharmEasy, operated by API Holdings, and PolicyBazaar and PaisaBazaar platform operator, PB Fintech, have allotted cumulative options worth over $1 billion to their employees. PolicyBazaar’s top-10 managerial executives own close to 80% of a pool of more than half-a-billion dollars.

Others such as logistics unicorn Delhivery, classifieds platform CarTrade and beauty product marketplace Nykaa also boast an aggregate Esop pool of $566 million.

To be sure, the value denoted for the Esop was arrived at the upper end of the IPO pricing for the market-bound startups that have declared their pricing. VCCircle has taken current trading price for startups that are already listed. For startups that are yet to list, including Oyo, PharmEasy, Delhivery and MobiKwik, VCCircle has arrived at the pricing on the basis of the most recent fundraising valuation.

In addition, software-as-as-service (SaaS) startup Freshworks, which got listed on the Nasdaq a couple of months ago, boasts an Esop pool of over $1.37 billion at the current share price of $38.4 apiece. The company was not considered in the analysis since it is listed overseas. However, it is worth a mention since it is an Indian-born technology company.

The article was first published on livemint.com

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.