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Lenskart increases ESOP pool to Rs 216 Cr, SoftBank’s Sumer Juneja joins the board


Eyewear retailer Lenskart, which recently raised $231 million from SoftBank has rewarded its employees by expanding its Employee Stock Ownership Plan or ESOP pool. According to its latest regulatory filings, Lenskart’s ESOP pool has been expanded by about Rs 45 crore, adding 619,903 options. 

The new addition values its overall ESOP pool at approximately Rs 216 crore.

With this development, Lenskart joins the tribe of companies such as Unacademy, Zerodha, Bounce and Ola — all of which recently increased its ESOP pool. 

Besides expanding its ESOPs, the Peyush Bansal-led firm has also appointed Sumer Juneja as a non-executive director of the company on behalf of SoftBank Vision Fund Lightbulb. Two-and-a-half months ago, SoftBank had pumped in in Rs 1,645 crore ($231 million) for a 20.14% stake in the eyewear retailer.

SoftBank’s investment in the Faridabad-based company had both primary and secondary components. It bought partial ownership of Lenskart’s early backers Chiratae and Premji Invest through a secondary transaction. The value of this couldn’t be ascertained by Entrackr.

Lenskart has been leveraging local production to improve margins for the past couple of years. This also reflected in its financial performance for the last fiscal. During FY19, Lenskart’s revenue jumped 63.2% to Rs 474.31 crore while losses shrunk over 73%.

ESOPs have been widely used by startups to attract talent and then retain them as well. It’s also considered as a major upside for people who prefer working with startups over established corporations. 

To ease ESOP encashment, the government had recently mentioned in the budget about deferred tax payment on employee stock ownership plans.

And unlike the past, trust in ESOPs has increased multifold as several employees of Byju’s, Rivigo, Paytm, Razorpay and Meesho made money through buyback or secondary transactions over the last couple of years. 

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