Paytm First Games’ parent One97 Comm. releases new ESOPs pool worth Rs 145 crore

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Parent company for Paytm First Games, One97 Communications, has released a new Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) pool for its employees. The news of this ESOP pool came ahead of Paytm’s Q1FY24 results, which were also revealed recently.

The fintech giant has also delved into online gaming scene through Paytm First Games. The gaming platform provides online fantasy sports and rummy option to users. However, now the future of the platform seems ambiguous with the newly implemented GST on online gaming.

As per Entrackr‘s exclusive report, the company, in its filing, said, “The equity shares allotted, pursuant to the exercise of the stock options, would not be subject to lock-in,”

Under the “One 97 Employees Stock Option Scheme 2019,” the company has issued 17,06,829 stock options to qualified employees at Rs 9 each. These will be converted into fully paid equity share in the future.

First Games was formed back in 2018 as Gamepind but was later rebranded. The app also contains over 300 other games and reported over 10 million active users during IPL 2021. Since then, the real money gaming (RMG) sector has come a long way. As of now, Paytm First Games boasts over 30 million users and over Rs 1,000 crore in winnings distributed.

One97 Communications releases Q1FY24 results, losses narrow

Meanwhile, the recently declared Q1FY24 results for One97 Communications revealed that the overall revenue for the company has increased by 39% YoY to Rs 2,342 crore as compared to Rs 1,680 crore in Q1FY23.

The EBITDA before ESOP grew to Rs 84 crore. “We continue to see consistent growth in profitability, with contribution margin expanding to 56% of revenues,” the company quoted in its official statements as reported by Business Today.

Paytm First Games also saw some controversy during the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapse, with people citing that One97 Communications also had investments from SVB that might affect its gaming subsidiary.

MD and CEO of One97 Communications, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, clarified Paytm’s position with a statement. He said that while SVB initially invested in First Games, it was not engaging with SVB in any manner at the time of collapse.