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Updated: Unacademy increases ESOPs pool to Rs 242 Cr; founders get phantom stock


Just a month after announcing its Series D fundraise last year, ed-tech startup Unacademy had bought 30% of the vested stocks from its employees. The Bengaluru-headquartered firm has now further expanded its ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) pool. 

According to its regulatory filings, Unacademy has passed a resolution to alter the present ESOP policy and increase the size of the ESOP pool from 36,190 options to 41,026 options.

 This figure was reached after factoring in the value of each share during the Series D round in August. Post this alteration, the company’s ESOP pool is currently valued at Rs 242 crore.

Education technology startups, particularly BYJU’s and Unacademy, have been growing at a very fast pace. While BYJU’s valuation rose to $8 billion last week with a $200 million fund infusion from Tiger Global, Unacademy was valued at over $600 million in its Series D round worth $55 million.

Meanwhile, Unacademy has also executed a “phantom stock” agreement with its co-founders Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini and Himesh Singh. This phantom stock issue does not dilute the equity for other shareholders.

Such agreements are employee or promoter benefit plans which give their holders several benefits of holding stock ownership without the actual issue of the company’s stock. These stocks are essentially meant to incentivise their holders(either via equity or cash) when the value of the company goes up.

Importantly, the company had executed last year’s ESOP buyback right around when the company had raised  $55 million in its Series D round, there might be a funding round lurking around the corner.

Last year had turned out to be a terrific year for Unacademy in several ways. According to its co-founder Munjal, the company had amassed 74,000 users on Unacademy Active Plus — a paid subscription plan floated by the companyThe platform has more than 700 educators teaching live on it daily with over 2,500 live Classes every day.

NOTE:  This post has been updated after the release of new details about the ESOP structure of the company. 

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