Newcastle tech firm announces “radical” new share scheme for employees

Rachael Hesno's picture
by Rachael Hesno
Opencast founders

Opencast, a Newcastle-headquartered technology consultancy firm, has launched a “radical“ new share options scheme to offer its employees a stake in the business.

The move will see Opencast’s founders, Charlie Hoult and Mike O’Brien, “effectively” give away a third of their shares to employees with both founders currently acting as 50% shareholders.

Its new enterprise management incentive (EMI) scheme aims to give all of its employees a stake in the business with a vision to reward loyalty, career progression and growth of the business.  

The tech firm, which works with a number of clients including HMRC, the Department for Work and Pensions and the NHS, said it will be issuing share options to all its staff in exchange for a payment of a fraction of a penny per share in the coming month.

As part of its growth plans, Opencast also announced it is aiming to bolster its team to 500 employees by 2025 and is targeting revenues of £50m. 

Opencast co-founder Charlie Hoult (pictured, left) said: “We are delighted to have received the official HMRC approval that our scheme needed. This isn’t the slim slice many companies fanfare as empowering colleagues – we hope we are making a big statement for the whole team to share in the growth of Opencast. It’s central to our ‘good team work’ culture.”

Co-founder Mike O’Brien (pictured, right) added: “Charlie and I started the Opencast business 10 years ago with a mission to challenge the traditional consulting model, by putting our people at the heart of all our thinking. From our start-up through to today, we have lived and breathed that mission. Rather than giving venture capitalists a stake, we’re giving our own team priority so that we can stay staunchly independent.”

Opencast will use digital share scheme platform Vestd, which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. to manage its EMI scheme. 

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