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BankBazaar adds shares worth $15M to ESOP pool

Financial product marketplace company BankBazaar on Tuesday said it has added equity shares worth $15 million to its employee stock options pool, after witnessing strong balance sheet growth over the last year.

The startup expects to close the current financial year ended March 31 with operational month-on-month profitability, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

A 20 percent growth year-on-year in revenue from credit cards helped boost the startup’s topline, it said, adding passing that growth on in the form of ESOPs and salary hikes were its way of helping “employees in the organisation reap the benefits of the business they helped create.”

“We have lived through a difficult and unpredictable year and come out very strongly at the end of it. Our team pulled off all stops to build and scale our capabilities and see our revenues bounce back to pre-COVID-19 levels,” said V Sriram, Chief HR Officer at BankBazaar, in a press statement.


The release noted that BankBazaar did not lay off any employees during the pandemic, and in fact, rolled out salary increments, bonuses, and promotions across all levels. Its 10 percent annual hike was higher than the industry average of 6.1 percent, the Chennai-based startup said.

Most late-stage fintech startups, including Paytm and PhonePe, announced ESOP policies during the pandemic to boost morale and keep employees engaged in the company’s growth. PhonePe launched a $200 million stock option plan for its 2,200 full-time employees in February this year, while Paytm, in April last year, announced a Rs 250 crore ESOP policy.

Traditionally a wealth creation tool used to retain top talent and offer incentives to senior executives, ESOPs have been fast becoming the startup ecosystem’s preferred way to compensate employees in lieu of appraisals, and amid salary cuts, furloughs, and hits to the bottom line due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are also being used to attract top talent where hefty onboarding bonuses and packages fall short.

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