Just after raising a large round of $225 million, online fantasy sports platform Dream11’s CEO, Harsh Jain receives a hike in salary. The company has revised Jain’s salary from Rs 1.2 crore to Rs 4 crore per annum with effect from April 10, 2020, giving him a whopping raise of 3.3X as compared to his pay last year.
This comes as Dream11 raised $225 million at 2X premium on the previous valuation, and also registered a 3.5X spike in its revenue to Rs 775 crore in FY19.
Dream11’s operative Indian entity Sporta Technologies spent a total of Rs 42.6 crore on managerial remuneration during FY19, taking a 68x leap from the expenditure of Rs 62.6 lakhs on the same during FY18. The company has not filed an annual report for FY20 yet.
Startups are often criticised for high burn, especially on salaries and remuneration of top-rung and leadership executives. While co-founders in early years of their startup journey usually don’t withdraw a fat pay cheque for various reasons including lack of funds, they get rewarded with exorbitant salaries after reaching a certain threshold in terms of scale, revenue and valuation.
Even as founders of the majority of the unicorns and growth-stage startups (above Series C round) are well paid, very few get salary and perks like Jain. Until now, some of the highest-paid startup CEOs included the likes of Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Quikr’s Pranay Chulet.
Sharma had an annual salary of around Rs 3 crore along with benefits including vehicle, fuel, driver, mobile bill, food, insurance, travel among others in FY19. Pranay Chulet, the CEO and founder of Quikr earned Rs 4.28 crore in FY18 as managerial remuneration.
Sachin Bansal-owned Navi had paid Rs 5 crore — the highest salary and perks to its chief financial officer (CFO) Ankit Agarwal in FY19. The managerial remuneration for Bhupinder Singh, the CEO, and founder of InCred was set at Rs 4 crore plus car and driver benefits.
Rewarding co-founders and long term employees with remuneration and secondary exits is a welcome sign for the startup ecosystem. Jain along with Bhavit Sheth has been working towards making Dream11 a multi-billion dollar entity with sound unit economics.
The two are expected to offload their holdings in the recently-concluded round and they may dilute further as Dream11 is expecting more secondary transactions in the coming months.