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Freshworks Offers $233 Mn In Stock Awards To Founder & CEO

Freshworks Offers $233 Mn In Stock Awards To Founder & CEO

Girish Mathrubootham has been awarded 9 Mn stock units, including 6 Mn units in PRSUs and 3 Mn units in RSUs

For Mathrubootham to receive all of the stock awards, Freshworks’ stock price needs to average above $200 for two months before January 2029

The SaaS unicorn’s equity-based pay costs reached $173.4 Mn, up 300% from the $43.3 Mn in 2020

SaaS unicorn Freshworks has offered its founder and CEO, Girish Mathrubootham, 9 Mn stock units worth $233.41 Mn as stock awards. The stock units will vest over the next seven years.

The stock award is separate from Mathrubootham’s $611,980 annual salary. In a disclosure made by the company with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the 9 Mn stock units include 6 Mn in performance-related restricted stock units (PRSUs) and 3 Mn restricted stock units (RSUs) that will vest over four years.

“[I]n recognition of Mr Mathrubootham’s instrumental role in achieving our strategic and business goals to date and, more importantly, the significant potential impact of his role on an ongoing basis, our board of directors approved the grant of two restricted stock unit awards under the 2011 Plan to Mr Mathrubootham, including (1) a restricted stock unit award in respect of up to 6,000,000 shares that is subject to both a continued service requirement and various stock price hurdle requirements (the “PRSU award”) and (2) a restricted stock unit award in respect of 3,000,000 shares that will vest over four years,” said Freshworks in its filing.

The performance aspect of the stock award is related to the performance of Freshworks’ stock on NASDAQ. For Mathrubootham to receive all of the stock award, Freshworks’ stock price needs to average above $200 for two months before January 2029.

However, even if the company fails to hit the target, or in the case of the CEO’s exit, Mathrubootham still stands to get a third of the PRSUs or about 2 Mn stock units.

Founded in 2010 by Girish Mathrubootham and Shan Krishnasamy, Freshworks offers a suite of customer management software. The software includes an AI-powered chatbot and messaging platform for customer support, along with call centre-based solutions for customer resolutions. It also offers HRM solutions and marketing automation solutions, among other products.

In the first quarter of 2022, Freshworks reported an operating loss of $47.1 Mn, up from $1.7 Mn a year ago. The company’s net loss increased to $49.1 Mn, against a net loss of $2.4 Mn during the corresponding quarter a year ago.

However, Freshworks clocked a 42% growth year-on-year (YoY) in its total revenue, which reached $114.6 Mn during the quarter under review. This also marked a second quarter on the bounce when the NASDAQ-listed company brought in revenues in excess of $100 Mn.

Freshworks had gone for an IPO in September 2021, choosing to list on the US-based NASDAQ stock exchange. The company sold around 31 Mn shares at an offer price of $36 apiece. In all, Freshworks raised around $1.1 Bn from its IPO, after deducting underwriters’ discounts.

The aforementioned rewards to the CEO come at a time when the SaaS unicorn’s equity-based pay costs reached $173.4 Mn, up 300% from the $43.3 Mn in 2020, according to company filings. The same is almost half of the $371 Mn in revenue Freshworks had in 2021.

Earlier this month, Freshworks shares touched a low of $12.91, and at the day’s close on May 27, the company’s shares traded at $16.09 apiece, 10.81% higher than the previous close. The share price gives Freshworks a market cap of $4.6 Bn, down to a mere third of the $13.4 Bn valuation that it achieved post listing.