WayCool Foods employees can now have a slice of the pie in the largest and the fastest-growing agri-commerce company. The Chennai-based firm has announced its first employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) worth ₹250 crore for all 1,500 employees. 

“We have been witnessing significant growth in terms of revenues over the past few quarters and our employees have been contributing significantly towards our growth. We want them not just to contribute to the growth but also own a piece of it. So we have announced an ESOP scheme at a size of ₹250 crore,” said Chinna Pardhasaradhi, CFO, WayCool Foods.

He added that the scheme covers all levels of employees and is not just restricted to the top management employees. “The earliest vesting will happen within one year of the grant. As it is vested, options will lie with the employee and the latest it goes up to three years. That’s how we defined the programme,” he added. 

While ESOPs have traditionally been granted to senior employees, many firms, particularly start-ups, are now extending this benefit to all employees. ESOPs come with a vesting period during which employees cannot sell their holdings.

‘Most challenging period’

“We have been through what is probably one of the most challenging period in our generation. Our team has stuck together and this is our way of recognising their effort and further cementing the relationship that we have with our employees,” said Karthik Jayaraman, Managing Director, WayCool Foods & Products.

He added that the scheme was designed to be inclusive and as employee-friendly as possible and that there are no hidden criteria like the ESOPs get null and void when an employee goes out of the company. 

“In the first six years, we were in a learning phase, now we are in a growth phase. So, we want our employees to be onboard at the beginning of this growth phase itself so they gain considerably from the future growth,” Jayaraman said. The company raised $117 million in Series D funding recently.