ixigo Reinstates Salaries & Grants Deeply Discounted ESOPs To All Employees
ixigo has seen strong growth pre lockdown, 50% growth in revenues to 160 cr in FY20, and bouncing back strong, expecting to be back to 50% of pre-COVID levels by year-end. The company is the only OTA to announce a slew of employee-friendly initiatives in this uncertain time, including deeply
ixigo, India’s leading AI-based travel app has made a series of big announcements in an internal “All Hands Meet” yesterday. The company has reinstated salaries and granted deeply discounted ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) to all its employees to compensate for the pay cuts made during the last three months. The current ESOP grant announced will result in an additional 2.3% of the company’s overall shareholding being given to all 150 ixigems (ixigo employees). This is one of the largest and most deeply discounted ESOP grants in the company’s history, and with the lowest stock vesting period of just one year (as compared to the 4-5 years norm in the industry).
Earlier this year, in March, with the lockdown coming into effect and the subsequent travel ban, the travel sector was one of the hardest hit, ridden with layoffs. At that time, ixigo evaluated several options for survival in the coming 6 months and considering the hardships, all employees would face, decided against taking any extreme measures in an already difficult time. In consultation with the leadership, ixigo instead announced graded pay cuts across the team. ixigo's co-founders voluntarily forwent their entire salary and the leadership team took a 60%+ pay-cut graded by pay. The rest of the company mutually agreed to a 20% to 50% pay cut depending upon the different compensation brackets. As of yesterday, ixigo has reverted salaries for all its employees and has re-initiated hiring for technology and customer experience roles. ixigo is the only major OTA in India that has not laid off any employee during the crisis.
The travel app had earlier also posted a strong financial performance in FY20, seeing a nearly 50% jump in revenue to the tune of 160 cr for FY20, with a steep reduction in operating losses to just 8 cr in FY20 as compared to 40 cr in FY19, and with a fully profitable quarter in JFM 2020. Despite the industry coming to a standstill, ixigo continued to improve its user engagement metrics and managed to retain more than half of its monthly active users during the travel ban through the launch of innovative features such as ixigo assured, and is now seeing a strong rebound.
Commenting on the employee-friendly initiatives, Aloke Bajpai, Co-Founder & CEO, ixigo said,“ Since the inception of ixigo, we have believed in empathy and transparency as our core values. We believe we made the right decision by sticking together and we are well prepared for the next 12 months' road to recovery. We expect to get back to 50% of our pre-COVID revenue level by the end of 2020.”
Commenting on the company’s focus going forward, Rajnish Kumar, Co-Founder & CTO, ixigo said - “We are no strangers to adversity and are now rebuilding ourselves to emerge stronger than ever. Our focus will be on improving our customer experience through product innovation and building features that will be important to travelers in the new normal. As a part of our employee benefit programs, we have also chosen to go remote-first and will let our employees work-from-anywhere till the end of this year, for their own safety and comfort.”