Higher education-focused edtech firm Sunstone has announced an employee stock (ESOP) buyback to generate wealth for its employees. Led by WestBridge Capital, the buyback program has witnessed a total transaction of Rs 18 crore.
Around 20 current and former employees, who have been with the company since its early days, are a part of the pool that has benefitted from this buyback, Sunstone said in a press release. As a part of this buyback policy, 57% of the vested shares held by theses employees taking their exit were eligible for selling.
The buyback has come after six months of $35 million Series C funding announced by Sunstone. The round was led by WestBridge Capital with participation from existing investor Alteria Capital. Earlier in October 2021, the firm had raised $28 million in its Series B round.
Founded in 2019 by Ashish Munjal and Piyush Nangru, Sunstone works with academic institutions to help upskill undergraduate and postgraduate students for employability. The company has a presence in more than 35 cities across over 40 institutions and now aims to expand it to 100 cities.
The impact of funding winter can be traced through the decline in ESOP buybacks by startups across stages in the latter half of 2022. As per data compiled by Fintrackr, around 25 startups announced ESOP buybacks worth $200 million during the last year, a fall from $440 million in 2021. In 2020, the value of ESOP buyback stood at $50 million.
The trend continued in January 2023 as there were no such announcements except BrightCHAMPS which awarded stock options worth $1 million to its 400 high-performing teachers.