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Tiger Global-backed Chaayos expands its ESOP pool


Tea cafe chain Chaayos has expanded its employee stock ownership plan or ESOP pool. The New Delhi-based company has passed a special resolution to add 62,229 equity shares to the pool, regulatory filings show.

As per Fintrackr estimates, the newly added shares are worth north of Rs 12.5 crore. The fresh addition comes at a time when the company has started recovering from a severe hit to its operations from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

One of the largest funded startups in this space, Chaayos has backing from the likes of Tiger Global, Elevation Capital (previously SAIF Partners), Hong Kong-based Integrated Capital and WhatsApp’s former chief business officer Neeraj Arora.

The last funding round for Chaayos came in February 2020 when it raised $21.5 million in Series B2 round led by San Francisco-based investment firm Think Investments with participation from venture debt fund InnoVen Capital.

Launched by Nitin Saluja and Raghav Verma in 2012, Chaayos had around 80 stores across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru as of February 2020. Over the next two-three years, the company had set a target to increase its store count to 300 across the existing market.

The trend of instilling confidence in employees and rewarding them with shares under ESOP has been on the rise in the past couple of years. Close to a dozen startups including Doubtnut, Byju’s, Oyo, ShareChat, Lendingkart, Unacademy, Rebel Foods, Shuttl, Lenskart, Swiggy and Bounce, have expanded their ESOP pool since January 2020. The list will go up to 20 when it comes to rewarding employees with ESOP during the period. 

According to Fintrackr’s data, Licious, Paytm, Nykaa, FarEye, Swiggy, CRED, Unacademy, Pine Labs, Zerodha and Oyo, among others have rewarded their workforce either with fresh ESOP allotment or buyback.

Despite the pandemic hit, Chaayos aimed to cross the Rs 100 crore revenue mark in FY20. In FY19, the company’s revenue from operations was recorded at Rs 66.87. During the previous fiscal, it incurred a net loss of Rs 28.75 crore.

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