Exclusive: After buyback, Ninjacart expands its ESOP pool

Business focused agritech startup Ninjacart’s valuation surpassed $800 million in December when it raised a $145 million Series D round from Walmart and Flipkart. With a significant jump in valuation, the company has increased the size and value of its ESOP pool.

Ninjacart has passed a special resolution to increase the quantum of its ESOP pool from 2,444 options to 3,156 options, its regulatory filings show. According to Fintrackr’s estimates, the Bengaluru-based company’s ESOP pool is now valued at Rs 170 crore.

Ninjacart enables retailers, restaurants and other businesses to source fresh produce directly from farmers at competitive prices and also delivers fruits and vegetables to mandis. 

The platform claims to have a network of more than 200 collection centres and 1,200 warehouses in India and move over 1,400 tons of fresh produce across seven cities including Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi (NCR) and Mumbai-Pune region.

While the company has added Rs 38 crore worth stock by adding new options, Entrackr sources outline that the company is likely to add more options in the coming months. “With upcoming additions, the size of the company’s ESOP pool will touch Rs 300 crore mark,” said one of the sources requesting anonymity.

Queries sent to Ninjacart’s co-founder and chief executive Thirukumaran Nagarajan didn’t elicit any immediate response. We will update the story as and when he responds.

In January, Ninjacart had announced ESOP buyback worth Rs 100 crore or $13.3 million from its workforce. The buyback also included MSOPs.

Over the past couple of years, growth stage and late-stage companies have been stressing on adoption of progressive policy and offer liquidity events to employees via periodic buy back and secondary transactions.

In the past four months, over a dozen Indian startups including Cars24, Gramophone, Slice, TheMathCompany, Bizongo, LEAD, FarEye, HomeLane, Trell, Ninjacart, Waycool and Porter executed ESOP buyback from their employees in 2022. As per Fintrackr’s data, startups had bought back ESOP worth more than $440 million in 2021, almost a nine-fold jump from $50 million in 2021.

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