Nutanix CEO gave his employees over $14 million of his stock in preparation for an IPO

Nutanix Dheeraj Pandey
Nutanix Dheeraj Pandey Nutanix

It looks like the IPO freeze of 2016 might be broken soon by Nutanix, the super hot data center startup that filed its IPO paperwork in December.

Nutanix filed updated paperwork to the SEC late Monday, indicating that the company is getting ready to move forward with its IPO.

Word was that the company had put its IPO on hold because investors had cooled towards young tech companies. Many of the lofty valuations once commanded by startups are now in decline.

To sweeten the pot for employees, Nutanix cofounder and CEO Dheeraj Pandey (and its biggest individual shareholder with a stake of just over 9% of the company) gave up a bunch of his future stock grants.

Pandey opted to give up 1.3 million shares out of a 1.9 million share grant. He’s releasing the 1.3 million shares so they can be distributed to employees, according to a document the company filed with the SEC. These are restricted stock units (RSUs) that were scheduled to vest over 4 years, some of which were tied to performance.

The whole 1.9 million shares was worth over $21.53 million, the company said. We calculate that to equal $11.33/share, meaning he gave up at least $14.7 million worth of shares to employees. It might be more. The stock has since been valued at $13.49, as of July 31, 2015, the filing says.

Like Jack Dorsey

Pandey also gave up his performance bonuses for 2015 worth $194,700 and some unknown sum for a retroactive raise in his base salary. He got a pay raise to $232,500 a year when he added the chairman title to his role, and his job offer allowed him to have that boost applied retroactively to April, 2014.

Turning down the retroactive pay says as much about Pandey’s view towards money as it does about how compensation plans are structured for top executives.

Not that Pandey is hurting. He owns 11.3 million shares, or just over 9% of the company. If public investors value the stock at $13.49 or more at its IPO (the same valuation as private investors gave it last summer), then Pandey’s stake is worth over $153 million.

He’s not the only top exec to give back some of his shares, Ari Levy of CNBC reports.

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey forfeited about $200 million worth of equity to employees. And LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner took a pass on his stock package that was reportedly worth roughly $14 million, to give those shares back to employees after LinkedIn’s stock price tanked earlier this year.

As for Nutanix, we’ll see if investors bite. On the upside, the company has been a major force in the data center industry. It helped invent an important new hardware market called “hyperconverged” where servers and storage and some software are combined into a single device. It raised more than $312 million from venture capitalists. It’s been a serious threat to some old-school data center companies and has been driving VMware, in particular, crazy.

Nutanix nearly doubled its revenue in the six-month period that ended in January, to $190 million from $102 million in the year-ago period. But it’s not profitable: It lost $72 million net in the same period, compared to losing just over $56 million net in the year-ago period.

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