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FT praise for Opencast share options scheme

8 February 2022

Opencast’s radical new share options scheme – which is seeing co-founders Charlie Hoult and Mike O’Brien effectively give away a third of their shares to everyone across the business – is the focus of a great new article in the Financial Times.

“The ‘war for talent’ in booming sectors such as technology means employers need incentives to show staff that loyalty will be rewarded,” says FT journalist Chris Tighe. “What could be more compelling than the promise that they are not mere hired hands, but future co-owners in line for a big payout - as long as they stay for a few years?

“Their newly launched EMI [enterprise management incentive] scheme offers employees collectively one-third of the company’s value in share options….employees staying until 2025 could have a pay-out of about a year’s salary.”

Opencast’s share options scheme grants every one of our employees thousands of share options, based on seniority and length of service. A proportion will be ‘vested’ for each future year of service, giving everyone a genuine stake in our future business success.

Image of Financial Times article on Opencast's share options scheme
"We’d much prefer to make our colleagues rich and stay independent than make venture capitalists rich"

100% take-up

Opencast’s people have given the scheme a big thumbs up - with all 170 of the people who qualified taking up their entitlement to share options when the scheme launched in December. These include quality assurance engineer Natalia Lyaskina, who tells the FT: “They believe in use, that we are more powerful together.”

“It’s teamwork rather than ‘only bosses benefit’,” Charlie explains, adding that “we’d much prefer to make our colleagues rich and stay independent than make venture capitalists rich.”

The FT dives into the detail of the HMRC-approved EMI scheme – including with details of a government review that should make the growth of EMI schemes like ours easier to set up and run in future. 

Read the FT piece here.

If you want to join a fast-growing business that looks after and recognises its people, why not join Opencast? We are hiring.

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