upGrad grants ESOPs to 600 employees, announces flexible leave plan

upGrad grants ESOPs to 600 employees, announces flexible leave plan
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5 Jan, 2021

Mumbai headquartered edtech platform for higher education, upGrad Education on Tuesday said it will grant Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOPs) to 600 employees. This will cover all employees who have completed a year at upGrad, said the company in response to specific queries. 

The company has also announced a flexible leave policy for its 2,500 employees, according to a statement.  

This takes the total number of employees with ESOP grants to 780 in upGrad. The company confirmed to TechCircle that the total ESOP pool stands at around 14% of the total equity of the company. ESOPs are typically provided by companies as a benefit plan and are meant to retain talent. 

Incorporated in 2012, upGrad is an online platform that provides certification courses to working professionals. The company was co-founded by Mayank Kumar who continues to be the managing director of the company, along with Ronnie Screwvala, Phalgun Kompalli and Ravijot Chugh. Chugh moved on from upGrad in October 2020 to set up Climb Credit. 

According to data on VCCEdge, upGrad had adopted an ESOP plan in June 2015 which was amended in 2016. Filings made for the financial year ending March 2019 show that there was no realisation for the ESOPs issued till date though 28,448 options had been vested as on March 31, 2019. 

The company told TechCircle, “The founders had offered a liquidity option two years back at a substantial premium but only a handful took it as most believed in the long term value of upGrad. We haven’t had any external investors yet in upGrad.” 

Read: Is UpGrad spreading itself too thin too fast?

“We have seen our workforce adapting to the remote-work mechanism with sheer diligence and have worked harder throughout the year, contributing to our steep business growth and driving career outcomes for our learners,” Mayank Kumar, managing director at upGrad said in a statement. He further added, 

upGrad currently offers online programs in the area of data science, technology, management and law to college students, working professionals as well as enterprises. The company has partnered with Indian institutions and foreign universities to offer these courses.

The company, which is said to be in discussions to raise its first external round of equity capital, made its fourth acquisition in December 2020  with the purchase of The Gate Academy. At the time, upGrad announced an investment of Rs 100 crore in the coaching centre chain to develop content across languages. This was in line with the announcement by upGrad made in April 2020, stating that it had set aside Rs 50 crore for acquisitions in FY 2021 to add new lines of programs including finance, law and medicine.