Whatfix unveils first ESOP liquidity event; plans RSUs from next quarter

Whatfix unveils first ESOP liquidity event; plans RSUs from next quarter
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6 Jul, 2021

After securing $90 million in Series D round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 last month, enterprise software platform Whatfix on Tuesday announced its first Employee Stock Ownership plan (ESOP) buyback of $4.3 million (Rs 32 crore) for its employees.  

The buyback is in addition to Rs 6 crore of secondary ESOP transaction for early employees of the company.

The growth round, which valued the company at $600 million, includes a secondary component of around $6 to $8 million to give an exit to early angel investors, CEO of Whatfix Khadim Batti said. 

The company also plans to add Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) to the existing ESOP plan, which will be rolled out in the next quarter, to attract global talent. “When it comes to international employees, ESOP attracts double taxation and is challenging in terms of compliance. We are discussing the merits for this and once we have clarity, we will roll it out to both international and Indian employees over the next quarter,” Batti told TechCircle.  

The current buyback event will allow existing and some former employees of Whatfix to liquidate up to 35% of their vested ESOPs. Per a statement from the company, nearly 175 employees were eligible for the buyback although 80% have chosen not to liquidate their vested stock options. Both current and former employees will be able to avail the value of shares at the Series D, non-discounted valuation of the company.  

Whatfix currently covers nearly 60% of its overall employees under the ESOP scheme. “We had issued ESOPs to all early employees to conserve cash and attract talent. Now we have become judicious and issue performance-linked ESOPs and with the employee’s outlook on long-term plans,” Batti said.  

The company has 500 employees of which 50 are part of the company’s global business. Bhatti said that Whatfix was looking to add another 125 professionals over the year of which around 40 will be part of the global business, maintaining a ratio of 15-20% international employees.  

Founded in 2014 by Batti and Vara Kumar, Whatfix provides digital adoption solutions to enterprises has opened three new offices across United Kingdom, Germany and Australia. It already has a presence in San Jose at San Francisco, US apart from Bengaluru.