With roots in Kyiv, Tallinn and Riga, Salto X is a pan-European startup reimagining stock options in Europe by connecting the Web2 and Web3 worlds. The startup just picked up €5.2 million to introduce its Incentive Tokens Plans to companies wanting to retain and recruit quality talent.
Salto X, founded in 2021, is on a mission to build a remote-friendly alternative to stock options for European companies. The aim is that by doing so, they can provide a solution to retain talent globally amidst an uncertain economic climate and an increasing talent and skills shortage. The product offers a liquidity-friendly equity compensation alternative – particularly pertinent with many companies now looking to cut payroll costs.
The young startup has just picked up €5.2 million in a seed funding round led by ByFounders and Blockwall. New York-based Box Group, crypto fintech 3Commas, and angels such as Liu Jiang (ex-Sequoia GP) & Alex Gluchkowski (Founder of ZkSync) also joined the round.
The founding team of Krists Avots, Ragnar Sass, Tanya Chaikovska and Elise Sass bring vast entrepreneurial experience to the venture, each bringing individual investment and community-building backgrounds. Ragnar Sass is the co-founder of unicorn startup Pipedrive, where he saw first-hand the difficulty of managing stock options internationally.
Ragnar is now the CEO of Salto X and explained the vision: “The existing model discriminates against remote employees, which is not acceptable in the remote-first world. They either get a worse deal than that offered in the company’s HQ or don’t get granted equity at all – we’re here to fix that. We offer remote contributors better transparency by showing the value of their stake in the company, and we increase liquidity by making it possible to sell back their tokens to the company, and soon to other contributors.”
Salto X is building a mechanism that gives transparent access to equity compensation to contributors regardless of geography. The process is streamlined via blockchain technology and contributors receive NFT certificates for the cliff period. The smart contract automatically and continuously executes token transfers upon vesting. These tokens can be cashed out in case of full or partial exit, or sold to other parties after vesting. This creates much-needed liquidity without the company needing to exit with an IPO or a sale.
Currently, the company employs 15 people and is looking to double down on hiring in 2022.
Investor Sara Rywe said: “Talent today demands a sense of ownership and companies want to incentivize top talent to stay, which is why we’ve seen a rise of widely used employee option programs. However, with companies going global and setting up remote work practices, it’s proven too complex and costly for many to implement a regular ESOP. We’re therefore very excited about backing SaltoX – led by the uniquely capable founders Elise, Tanya, Krists, and Ragnar – on their mission to simplify and transform employee incentives.”