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WinZO concludes third round of ESOP liquidation

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Online gaming startup, WinZO, announced its third round of ESOP liquidation, providing an opportunity for eligible team members to partially liquidate their vested ESOPs. WinZO executed its first and second ESOP liquidation programs for its current and former teams in 2021, amidst the tumultuous times of COVID-19 pandemic.

WinZO’s recent ESOP liquidation exercise is a testament to the company’s commitment to recognize and reward the exceptional efforts of its team members. This liquidation exercise is available for everyone who has served a minimum of two years with the company, encompassing approximately 25 percent of its current workforce, including all the early team members.

The announcement of ESOP liquidation comes amid tough market conditions and funding winters and demonstrates WinZO’s unwavering belief in its business growth. Notably, WinZO successfully carried out this ESOP liquidation exercise using the company’s existing cash reserves, without relying on any new external funding sources. In addition, WinZO achieved a significant milestone in 2021 by providing Hike, one of its early investors, with a complete exit, resulting in an impressive four-fold return on their investment within two years. This accomplishment can be attributed to WinZO’s steadfast commitment to building a sustainable business model with positive unit economics as its guiding principle.

WinZO stands out in the Indian startup ecosystem by accomplishing an extraordinary feat of three rounds of ESOP liquidation in less than five years since its establishment. Founded in 2018, WinZO has been experiencing exponential growth, and has emerged as a clear market leader. With one of the leanest teams in the country, WinZO has created a product that boasts a user base of over 130 million registered users and facilitates more than four billion monthly micro transactions.

“Over the last 12 months, our business has grown at a velocity that has helped us cross an inflexion point to build a truly remarkable enterprise in the field of gaming & entertainment. As any pure technology company should be, we consider our team and our people the biggest asset of WinZO. In light of the past and what the future holds, we have conducted our third ESOP liquidation event as an expression to share the value that the team has built so far, and buckle up to go for much bigger goals. Achieving this feat, especially, in such a macroeconomic environment where the startup ecosystem is experiencing a ‘funding winter’ with lofty valuations being reset, is a testimony of our strong business fundamentals and disciplined-approach towards venture building. It’s also reflective of the massive potential we are going to unlock over coming years to emerge as one of the most remarkable consumer tech companies in the world,” Paavan Nanda and Saumya Singh Rathore, co-founder of WinZO said in a joint statement.

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WinZO’s commitment to its team goes beyond the ESOP Liquidation program, encompassing recognition, education, career opportunities, mental health support, and more. The company’s people-centric initiatives have been recognized through its inclusion as a Great Place to Work certification in 2022. Alongside competitive compensation packages on a global scale, WinZO offers a lucrative Scholarship Policy that empowers its team to pursue fully funded higher education at prestigious universities worldwide. Moreover, WinZO has proactively reached out to companies that were facing economic constraints and considering downsizing their teams. The company has established an internal task force dedicated to connecting with the Human Resources teams of affected companies and facilitating placements within WinZO. WinZO’s focus on the mental well-being of its team members is also evident through its partnership with Amaha, a renowned mental health consultation platform. This partnership highlights the company’s dedication to supporting the mental health needs of its people.

WinZO has secured a cumulative funding of $100 million through multiple funding rounds, with investments from various notable entities including Griffin Gaming Partners based in California, gaming funds like Maker’s Fund and Courtside Ventures, and India-based VC Kalaari Capital. The Indian gaming industry presents a significant opportunity, estimated at $10 billion, over the next five years.

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