One of the recently crowned FinTech unicorns, Razorpay announced its third ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) Buyback program worth $10Mn (INR 73 Crore) for its 750 employees. All existing and former employees of Razorpay who hold vested stocks will be eligible to sell up to 33% of their vested ESOP shares. Sequoia Capital India and GIC, two of Razorpay’s key investors will be the buyers involved in this development.
ESOP Buybacks in the startup industry have been a source of significant wealth creation for employees but it is not something that companies usually practice as an annual event. Razorpay is one of India’s youngest startups to have facilitated the ESOP Buyback program consequently for the last three years.
The share sale is expected to benefit employees across roles – from team leaders to support executives to administrative staff. Razorpay’s 1350 people team raised their $100Mn Series-D funding in October last year and the ESOP Buyback plan is a reflection of the faith that the company and its employees have instilled in each other.
Commenting on announcing its third ESOP Buyback for employee welfare, Harshil Mathur, CEO and Co-Founder, Razorpay, said, “We’ve always said and believed that our employees are the reason for every success that we have had. They turned an unprecedented year into one of the strongest years for Razorpay. And this ESOP Buyback is our little way of giving back to the employees for their contribution and a form of wealth creation for all, as it is important for us to ensure that our employees also grow along with the company. Our current and former employees, even as young as 23, will be eligible for this incentive, irrespective of ranks. The compensation will be rolled out to all our employees, be it software engineers, product managers, customer experience agents, or administrative staff. I believe there’s no better time than now to recognise the team for all their efforts and having trusted us in this journey.”
Razorpay was one of the very few early stage companies when its first liquidity event through ESOP encashment occurred in November 2018 for its 140 employees then. The transaction was done at a 50% premium to the valuation. The second ESOP sale event occurred in November 2019, during which approximately 400 employees were eligible. To date, the company has awarded ESOPs to 1000 employees, with current employees holding a majority share.
Despite most of Razorpay’s employees working remotely, the company has been able to turn the Covid-19 pandemic challenge into an opportunity. The company has hired over 550 employees in the last year and has also created cross-functional growth opportunities for its existing employees. Recently, the company also announced to hire 650 employees across Engineering, Product, Customer Experience, Sales and Marketing roles, in the next one year. Razorpay’s hiring plans are being driven by more investment in product development, customer experience and new additions to the existing product suite so that the company caters to the ever-evolving payment and banking needs of SMEs & MSMEs.
Currently powering online payments for more than 5Mn small & large businesses such as Facebook, IRCTC, CRED, Zerodha, Indigo among others, Razorpay has clocked in a healthy growth rate of 40-45% month-on-month and is geared to increase its merchant count to 10Mn by next year. Razorpay registered 3X growth in payment volume through SMBs that went online for the first time during Covid in 2020.