Agritech startup Bijak has introduced an Employee Stock Ownership Plan for its eligible employees worth around Rs 65 crore, regulatory filings show. With this, the two-year-old company joins the league of a select few early-stage startups who have created such a significant ESOP pool in the recent past.
According to its filing, the board at Bijak has passed a special resolution approving the adoption and implementation of its ESOP and will issue 1,765 options with one option parallel to 1 equity share. Any person from the promoter group, any directors or any such person who holds more than 10% equity stake in the company has been left out of such purview. The company has kept the minimum gap between the date of granting of such option and vesting at 1 year.
The vesting period is 4 years with no lock-in period and the options will be valued at a fair market value basis. It may grant options during one year equal to or less than 1% of the issued share capital. Although Bijak is an early-stage startup, its maiden ESOP policy ranks amongst growth-stage companies such as Razorpay, Nykaa, Urban Company, Lenskart and others which have relatively progressive ESOP policies to reward their employees.
During its $12 million Series A funding round in April 2020, the Gurugram-based startup was valued at around $82 million. Given the rise in investors’ interest in agritech startups in the past couple of years, Bijak’s valuation is likely to rise in its next financing round.
Launched by Nukul Upadhye, Mahesh Jakhotia, Jitender Bedwal, Daya Rai and Nikhil Tripathi, Bijak is a B2B trade platform for the agricultural sector. The platform enables traders, wholesalers and food processors to keep a ledger of their transactions, access transparent pricing, optimize logistics and improve their working capital cycles.
According to the company’s website, it has a presence in over 22 states including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar and Uttarakhand, and it deals in more than 80 commodities.
Bijak was a member of the second cohort of Sequoia Capital’s accelerator program Surge. Besides Surge, Bijak has raised funds from Omidyar Network, Omnivore Partners, Better Capital and RTP Global.
Close to three dozen agritech startups have raised funds since January 2020 and the introduction of an ESOP scheme by a player in the segment is undoubtedly a good sign for the ecosystem, employees and stakeholders.