LetsVenture | India's most trusted platform for Startups

ESOP Design and Liquidity for Startup Success
a campaign for action
Brought to you by LetsVenture - India’s premier platform organising the private market. In the last 6 years, we have enabled 180 startups to raise funding totalling $81.5M.
We have launched this campaign to bring together Founders, HR Heads, VCs and employees of India’s top startups to engage in this much needed discussion. We have already received massive support and inputs from unicorn/soonicorn founders and leading VCs.
We invite you to endorse the campaign and we will share the results of India’s first ESOP Design & Liquidity whitepaper which we will release shortly. The whitepaper will provide unique insights into the current ESOP policies prevalent in India, and views of experts on best practises for the benefit of the startup ecosystem. We look forward to your endorsement in defining a meaningful ESOP Design & Liquidity baseline in Indian Startups!
View Campaign Document
Mohandas Pai Chairman at Aarin Capital "There is a distinct lack of liquidity for employees who have invested 5-8+ years of their career in Indian startups. A solution which allows them the benefit of a private sale to get liquidity in a transparent manner within the law is a big necessity today. The time has come for all decision makers to actively look at enabling such liquidity mechanisms for startup employees!”
Subrata Mitra Accel “Great startups are built by visionary founders that also manage to enlist the services of top quality talent onto their ranks. Most such journeys could take decades to fruition. It is therefore critical for investors to realise this, and ensure that employees receive fair ownership and liquidity for their contribution to the success of a company. I wholeheartedly back this campaign to create greater awareness around ESOP Liquidity in Indian startups, to help our effort to attract & retain the best talent at these companies.”
Pankaj Chaddah Co-founder of Zomato "ESOPs have the promise of future wealth which would enable aspirants to take bigger risks in life, like the risks entrepreneurs they work for have taken. This also works strongly in favour of startups as they need to spend less cash to acquire great talent. But the lack of liquidity can make it lose its shine. The liquidity of ESOPs will be a great shot in the arm for the ecosystem. Its liquidity has the power to convert current employees into future entrepreneurs, as it gives them great appetite to take risks. The Paypal mafia is a great example of how wealth creation from one success has led to many more."
Alok Bansal Co-Founder & CFO of PolicyBazaar "ESOP is the perfect way to compensate the early team in any start-up. Many a times the real value of ESOPs is not appreciated, but if the scheme is designed and communicated properly to the team, it can result in getting everyone aligned tremendously. Equally important is to create opportunities for liquidation at an appropriate time, which reflects the value created vs the risk taken. The rules and the ecosystem, I believe, are still evolving and I think the stakeholders need to come together with suggestions which can be implemented practically."
Anupam Mittal Founder of People Group "As an entrepreneur and angel investor in 100+ startups, I have witnessed a variety of ESOP policies and their impact on a startup. This experience has given me conviction that fair ESOP Design and Liquidity creates a meaningful difference in a company's ability to attract the best talent and therefore succeed in the long term. I endorse this campaign and urge founders to participate in building a robust startup ecosystem in India."
Vivek Khare InfoEdge “I was lucky that InfoEdge had its IPO within 6 years of raising the seed round - which provided validation of the ESOPs within a reasonable timeframe. This has been the cornerstone for InfoEdge to retain top talent over the long term. In today’s environment, startups can take anywhere from 12-15+ years to IPO. A platform which can validate ESOPs while the company remains private will go a long way in helping employees commit their careers to startups.”
Satheesh KV People Excellence at xto10x, Ex-Senior Director of HR, Flipkart “An ESOP liquidity program is the need of the hour. This would not only enable talent to value the employee stock options plan but also help in creating many more entrepreneurial talent force in the ecosystem. Flipkart as an example gave birth to 200+ startup founders and a handful of angel investors. ESOP liquidity enables the top talent to believe in entrepreneurship more strongly than ever before! One of the biggest problems that ESOP liquidity program would solve is attracting talent outside the startup ecosystem since it would pull more "believers" to the ecosystem.”
Kunal Bahl Co-founder of Snapdeal "This is a great initiative that brings more awareness about ESOPs as a means of value creation for employees of startups who play a key role in the growth of the business. Importantly, there are ways in which ESOPs can become even more effective through levity on taxation rules, which would be a significant game changers for startups and their teams in India."
Ravi Gururaj President of TiE Bangalore “Equity ownership when structured right imbues employees with a deep sense of ownership. It rewards them for their long term commitment, loyalty, performance, and innovativeness. The option of a structured partial liquidity option for startup employees would be a huge fillip to India's startup employees. Kudos to LetsVenture for initiating this important dialogue."
Abhiraj Bhal Founder of UrbanClap "ESOPs help a startup attract and retain the right talent, which is long term vested. Fairness in policy design and periodic liquidity for employees helps establish credibility of the ESOP policy. A marketplace which offers ESOP liquidity creates optionality for employees. This would be beneficial for the eco-system, if built the right way."
Sanjay Jha Co-Founder of LetsVenture “We are very bullish on this initiative to solve for attracting top talent in Indian Startups. In fact we are taking a big step in this direction by building an online product (mystartupequity.com) where startups can easily manage their ESOP grants and employees can easily see the value of it go upwards and potentially encash it.”
Hari Raghavan ex-COO, Forge ”Secondary liquidity is an inevitable part of any healthy startup ecosystem. Even as recently as 5 years ago it was very uncommon in Silicon Valley, but now it's almost expected that companies will provide employees with systematic liquidity. They've all recognized the obvious: early employees pour their heart and soul into helping build the company up; and making sure they're compensated for that risk in a reasonable timeframe is the fair and right thing to do.”

About LetsVenture

LetsVenture is India’s premier platform organising the private market. In the last 6 years, we have enabled 180 startups to raise funding totalling $81.5M.

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