Circles.Life launches US$5 million stock buyback in one of the biggest pre-IPO ESOP liquidity events in Southeast Asia
Circles.Life, a tech company leading digital transformation of the global telco vertical, today announced one of the biggest-ever pre-IPO employee stock buybacks in Southeast Asia worth US$5 million. Circles.Life’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) grants all full-time employees significant stakes in the company and the ability to sell vested stocks at regular intervals. The company attributes its success to this strong focus on employee ownership, with some employees set to reap hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in this liquidity round after working just a few years at the company.
Circles.Life holds these ESOP liquidity events every 18 months on average, with the last round completed in July 2020. The telco tech pioneer has significantly sweetened the deal this time round by inviting all employees with over a year’s tenure to participate, a move rarely seen amongst tech providers in Asia with many enforcing multi-year minimum vesting rules. All employees who indicated interest in this round were able to participate in the liquidity event.
As part of its employee value proposition, Circles.Life offers one of the most generous and inclusive ESOPs in the market. Tangible benefits include regular pre-IPO liquidity, exponential value creation (employee stocks awarded in the earliest days have grown over 13-fold in value), and unrivalled accessibility of ownership that sees all employees regardless of seniority or tenure actively participate in the programme.
Each year, all Circles.Life employees receive two months’ base pay worth of stock options, on top of their basic salary component and performance bonus. The company’s annual cohort of top performers, called Space Explorers, are awarded an additional six-month’s worth of stocks vested immediately, with their total compensation often exceeding that of peers working for global tech giants. Several Space Explorers have even achieved this feat in multiple years.
Since making its debut in Singapore in 2016, Circles.Life has become the fastest-growing digital telco operator in the region. As part of its aggressive growth plan, the telco tech company has been making inroads into new markets, rolling out in Taiwan and Australia in 2019, and launching in Indonesia in 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. In September, Circles.Life inaugurated its next-gen, cloud-native telco operating system Circles X in Japan, powering KDDI Corp’s transformation with the unveiling of digital telco brand, povo2.0, and quickly setting new benchmarks for customer experience and product innovation in the market.
Circles.Life is looking to build on this landmark success by taking Circles X to additional markets in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. To achieve its global growth ambitions, the company recently appointed a new Chief People Officer and embarked on a mega hiring drive to grow its Singapore core of tech and innovation talent.
Rameez Ansar, Co-Founder of Circles.Life, said, “Today’s announcement of our biggest-ever ESOP liquidity event is just another example of how we’re building on the success of our business which has grown over 50-fold since launch, while finding opportunities to give back to our most important asset, our employees. These regular liquidity rounds are our way of celebrating our people and allowing them to participate in the success of the company.”
“At Circles.Life, we value ownership and want every single one of our employees to think, feel and behave like owners who can make a meaningful contribution to our success. Our ESOP programme is unique in that it grants our employees the flexibility to cash out early and enjoy the fruits of their hard work, while paving the way for them to own an even bigger slice of the company as we accelerate on our exciting hyper-growth phase. We want to continue setting the benchmark for how ESOPs are done, and perhaps one day even go one better than the global tech giants in Silicon Valley.”
Circles.Life is founded on the belief that the future of the telco industry is brighter than anyone can imagine. We create delightful customer experiences in telco and digital services with the most innovative and future-ready platform built in Singapore. Our owned and partner operations in Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, Indonesia and Japan are powered by the world’s first full-stack, cloud-native digital telco operating system purpose-built for the 5G era and beyond. At Circles.Life, we empower customers all over, delivering world-class NPS and industry-leading customer and revenue growth. To learn more, visit www.circles.life
AKA Asia on behalf of Circles.Life