PhonePe doles out ESOPs worth $200 mn for its 2,200 workers

PhonePe doles out ESOPs worth $200 mn for its 2,200 workers
Photo Credit: VCCircle
4 Feb, 2021

Walmart-owned digital payments platform PhonePe said it has recently granted employee stock option plans (ESOP) worth $200 million to all its full-time employees.

The Bengaluru-based company said the scheme, launched in January, affects 2,200 employees.

“By having ESOPs at a minimum of $5,000 for all levels, we enable every employee in the organization to participate in the wealth generation opportunity they have helped create,” human resources head Manmeet Sandhu said in a company blog post.

As the employees climb higher up the corporate ladder, ESOPs become part of the annual compensation, thus translating into a larger component of their compensation being tied to the organisation’s success, Sandhu added.

PhonePe, formerly known as Flipkart Payments, is owned and funded by retail giant Walmart. It operates a digital payment system for semi-closed prepaid instruments services in India.

In December 2020, it was partially hived off as a separate entity to help the firm expand its presence in the MSME market. It was set to raise $700 million in equity capital at a post-money valuation of  $5.5 billion.

The company generates revenues through the sale of its services, payment intermediary services, and from processing of payment transactions. Other sources of revenue include sales of advertising services.

Founded in 2015 by former Flipkart employees Sameer Nigam and Rahul Chari, PhonePe was acquired by Flipkart in 2016. The company, which started as a digital wallet, now commands close to 40% market share in UPI based transactions, making it among the top two players in the country.

The company handled about 1 billion transactions for the month of October 2020 and has close to 100 million monthly active users (MAU), as per a statement in December 2020.

PhonePe’s rivals include domestic companies like Paytm, as well as international players such as Google Pay and Amazon Pay. The company had generated a rise of 74% yearly revenues, for the financial year ended March 2020.

Other startups operating in India’s technology businesses, that were in the news for ESOP-related developments so far in 2021, include omnichannel ecommerce vertical Nykaa, predictive logistics SaaS (software-as-a-service) provider FarEye, and edtech startup upGrad.