Spat over payout after Snap deal

When Fit Analytics was sold to Snap, it was also about payouts under employee ownership programs. Now a former employee is complaining.

The year actually started well for the start-up Fit Analytics: In March, it was bought by the US company Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, for 124 million dollars. Part of the acquisition at Fit Analytics is paying off employees with a stake in the startup, known as the Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP), or employee stock ownership. This option is mainly taken up by young startups that are not yet able to pay their team a high salary. With the ESOP, they participate in the future profit or exit of a start-up.

As Gründerszene reported, shortly before the official negotiations to buy the startup, the leading employees were offered to cede their ESOPs for a small price. "Instead of the few thousand euros, I would have been entitled to more than twenty times that amount," one of the employees told Gründerszene. The first offer for the buyback came in mid-December 2020, according to the report, and Snap says it held the first talks to buy in December as well. Fit Analytics says that at the time of the offer, an acquisition was not on the table.

The employee, who spoke to Gründerszene, is visibly disappointed with the deal. He wasn't the only one to receive an offer. Three other executives also received the mail, one of whom says of his option: "It was less than ten percent of the proceeds that were transferred to me for my share options after the takeover by Snap. "There can also be criminal consequences for companies that do not pay out their employees properly financially on exit or deceive them about the value of the options. However, it is not possible to determine whether a criminal offence has been committed in this case. The presumption of innocence applies. At Fit Analytics, however, the employee who spoke to Gründerszene does not want to take further action against his company.

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