SaaS (Software as a solution) platform Whatfix, today announced that it has implemented an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) buyback of $4.3 Mn (INR 32 Cr) for its employees.
The company is granting them the option to liquidate up to 35% of their vested ESOPs. This is the first buyback by the company where over 80% of the eligible 175 employees have chosen not to liquidate their vested shares. Both current and former employees will be able to avail the value of shares at the series D, non-discounted valuation of the company.
Founded in 2014 by Khadim Batti and Vara Kumar, India and US-based Whatfix is a SaaS solution for organisations looking to introduce training instructions via interactive guides for a seamless onboarding process in enterprise areas such as HR, CRM, ERP, accounting and more. The startup also helps the clients to understand how they can maximise the efficiency and increase the return on investment (ROI) on tech enterprise tools that they are already using.
The company recently announced the close of its series D fund, raising $90 Mn in a funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund, with participation from Eight Roads Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, Dragoneer Investment Group, F-Prime Capital and Cisco Investments.
It also claims to have experienced hyper-growth over the last two years, with revenue and headcount tripling and opening three new offices in the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia. Whatfix currently has 500 employees across six global offices.
Approximately 95% of the clients of Whatfix are from outside India while the US accounts for 75% of the revenues. The company claims to have acquired clients such as NASA, Flipkart, AAA, and Booking.com (part of The Priceline Group), among others.
Similar to most businesses, even Whatfix saw an impact on its revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Batti, sales were low during the period as most businesses were looking to conserve cash instead of buying new subscriptions for software.
However, financial and revenue figures of SaaS companies in India have begun to reach their former levels as remote work becomes a norm.
The SaaS industry in India has seen explosive growth in the last three years. Seven out of India’s 29 unicorns are in the SaaS business and the country is home to more than 10,000 SaaS startups as compared to just 3,000 in 2014. BrowserStack, an Indian SaaS startup, recently became a unicorn too.
According to a report by Nasscom, India’s total SaaS revenue breached the $3.5 billion mark as of March 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30 percent and the industry body believes that the SaaS industry has the potential to grow 6X to $13-15 billion by 2025 buoyed by a strong push from the government and other stakeholders to create a sustainable growth ecosystem.
This growth has also attracted investor interest. As per the Nasscom report, SaaS funding in India has grown by 15% CAGR over the last three years.