upGrad liquidates ESOPs worth Rs 220 Cr for early employees

upGrad's recent funding round led by Temasek and IFC has triggered a small secondary sale for the early and long-term team members of the company.
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Higher education platform upGrad on Tuesday announced its first ESOP liquidity event worth Rs 220 crore ($29.5 million) that will benefit 37 of its early team members.

The Mumbai-based startup's recent funding round led by Temasek and IFC has triggered a small secondary sale for "the early and long-term team members".

"Founder Group owns over 70 percent in the company and has created a large ESOP pool of close to 13 percent of the enlarged equity base," upGrad said in a statement.

Prior to this, in January, upGrad had granted ESOPs to 600 employees (out of a 2,500-strong workforce) who had completed a year in the company "as gratitude towards their commitment".

ESOPs or Employee Stock Option Plans are increasingly seen as a viable mode for startups to attract key talent, and motivate and retain employees.

Ronnie Screwvala, Chairman and Co-founder, upGrad, said in a statement,

"Definition of ‘Best places to work' for is changing dramatically around the world. The new benchmark will have companies, where you have the maximum learning and growth opportunities. ESOP is still a less understood and appreciated currency that allows team members to take a much longer-term view on their current place of work."

"Moving jobs for promotions or increments will be less prevalent in the future as the smartest [talent] will look for long-term growth in the company, the founders, and the team that can match their ambitions," he added.

upGrad had earlier shared that it wants long-serving employees to be a part of the six-year-old company's growth and success story.

"This is just the beginning of the series of progressive policy changes that will be implemented over the year, our effort to create better employee experience and a happier workforce," Preeti Kaul, President – HR, upGrad, had stated.

The platform offers over 100 professional courses from leading global universities and has impacted more than one million registered learners from 50 countries.

Edited by Suman Singh