Kristal Advisors Pvt. Ltd, which runs asset management platform Kristal.AI, on Tuesday rolled out its employee stock options (ESOPs) programme as a service to those companies who are looking to provide liquidity to their employees and early investors.
The company also announced an ESOP buyback of $1 million (Rs 7.5 crore) for both of its former and existing employees.
It also eyes to conduct such exercises every year to facilitate wealth creation opportunities for both the existing and former staff.
The order placement process ESOPs exercise is executed on a private blockchain, built and owned by Kristal.AI. The transaction is recorded on the blockchain for credibility and security, the company said in a statement.
The deal was facilitated by Kristal.AI's private markets vertical, Kristal Private Markets (KPM), which enables investors to access the company's shares at a lower minimum price than a traditional fundraise.
“Stakeholders in an unlisted company no longer have to wait for the company to go public or for a major investor to come in. With Kristal’s ESOP liquidity service, early phase to late-stage companies would be able to provide easy liquidity solutions to their employees or shareholders without cluttering their cap table,” said Asheesh Chanda, Founder and CEO of Kristal.AI.
The company claims that the overall demand for investing in its platform has exceeded the total supply of shares within 10 days of launch.
In December 2021, it acquired over $400 million as assets under management (AUM). Since January 2020, the platform quadrupled its AUM and its user base has expanded seven-fold, resulting in 22 times increase in its annual recurring revenue.
Kristal.AI was launched by Chanda and Vineeth Narasimhan in 2016. It provides investors and advisors with portfolios (Kristals) that are created and curated by financial experts.
Each ‘Kristal’ is based on a theme and can include assets such as exchange-traded funds, stocks, bonds, options and futures.
The company has a presence in Mumbai and Bengaluru and also caters to customers in Singapore, Hong Kong and the UAE.
In the past months, Indian startups have been exploring creative ways to hire—and retain—staff, including expanding their ESOPs, as they battle each other and more established companies for talent. The startups have also been more agile in conducting ESOP buyback programmes.
Over the last year, several venture capital-backed startups including Walmart-owned digital payments platform PhonePe; edtech start-up Teachmint Technologies Pvt Ltd; FMO-backed fintech firm Innoviti Payment Solutions; social ecommerce platform Meesho and PB Fintech Ltd, the owner of online platform Policybazaar and Paisabazaar, among others.