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Revolut engineers who received £80k bonuses in 2019 are now sitting on £600k+

If you're a software engineer or anyone else considering whether to work for a start-up fintech or a major bank, the riches that have flowed and that should imminently flow again to employees at Revolut may incline you towards a fintech. Even mid-ranking Revolut people have benefited enormously from working there.

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"Revolut has changed a lot of people's lives," says one employee who left a few years ago after working at Revolut for five years. "It's allowed me to buy a house in London outright. My reality is completely different as a result of the time I worked there."

Of course, Revolut isn't just any fintech. It's Europe's pre-eminent fintech unicorn and is targeting a valuation of $40bn in an imminent share sale, which would make it Europe's most valuable start-up. One former Revolut product manager describes it as, "The UK's version of Paypal or Amazon in terms of tech focus, working culture and follow on opportunities." It's not an easy employer - "it's one of the most hardcore start-ups to work for," he adds. 

Revolut declined to comment for this article, but by the reckoning of multiple ex-employees we spoke to, there are "hundreds" of paper millionaires at Revolut waiting to cash out, as well as 20 or 30 people sitting on £8m to £15m and a small group of early stage employees sitting on hundreds of millions. 

The latter group includes Revolut founder Nik Storonsky. It's also thought to include key people like Edward Cooper, who joined in 2015 as head of mobile and who is now managing the crypto effort, plus people like Michael Sherwood, the ping-pong playing former head of Goldman Sachs in London, who joined Revolut's board in 2020.  The people with £8m to £10m include Revolut VPs and partners who worked there or began working there before 2019. The paper millionaires include other employees who were there five years ago or more.

A lot of those who stand to become rich through Revolut are in their late 20s or early 30s. There are a lot of people in product, says one insider. There are also a lot of software engineers. As Revolut's valuation has increased, even comparatively small amounts of stock paid as bonuses in the past have increased in value dramatically. "I know a senior engineer from 2019 who got an £80k stock bonus that's now worth over £600k," says one insider. In 2019, Revolut was valued at $5.5bn. If the $40bn price is achieved, that's an increase in value of over seven times.

Some insiders suggest the gains are even more dramatic because Revolut used to subsidize the stock it gave employees. Six years ago, Revolut was allegedly granting shares to some employees at a price of only £10 with a vesting period of four years. There are unconfirmed stories of former middle level engineers buying big houses in the more desirable parts of West London and then moving to Dubai.

One of those thought to be in the category of employees with hundreds of millions in Revolut stock is Alan Chang, the 30 year-old who joined Revolut aged 21 in 2015 and who became chief revenue officer. Chang left in March 2022 after selling stock in the 2021 fundraising and now runs a start-up in the energy industry. He didn't respond to requests to comment for this article.

Revolut insiders say the firm has been generous in allowing both current and former employees to cash out when it sells shares. In 2021, they claim that ex-employees were restricted to selling 10% of their holdings, while former employees were able to sell 20%. In the coming cash raise, there are rumours that only existing employees will be able to sell. Some ex-employees tell us they're aggrieved by this. Lucrative growth shares, issued to select employees in 2021 are seemingly excluded from the sale. 

Even if he can sell, though, one former Revolut employee says he'll hang on to his Revolut shares. "In my opinion, I think it's very likely that Revolut has further growth potential of at least 3x in the next five years," he tells us. The key to unlocking this growth is gaining a UK banking licence, which he says is contingent on Revolut improving its core financial reporting. "They have invested enormously into improving these systems over the past few years and I expect they will see the full benefit of this work in the next one to two years," he says. Although Revolut's finance director, Victor Stinga, looks comparatively junior, he claims that Stinga is highly capable and "highly trusted" by Storonsky. "The problems that Revolut is facing with its financial audit aren't related to the expertise of senior finance people but are almost entirely technical," he adds. "It's legacy pain from exponential growth and increased complexity and the finance systems are catching up with this. Most experienced CFOs have nowhere near enough knowledge and experience on the technical side." 

If Revolut's valuation increases another three to five times, employees there could become even richer still. The firm plans to increase headcount by 40% this year. Getting a job there isn't easy: 500 people apply for each one. 

The days of making really huge money from Revolut stock bonuses may have passed, though. Insiders say that stock is no longer offered to employees at the same generous discounts that were available in five years ago. "There was a real golden window of opportunity at Revolut from 2017 to 2022/3," says the former product manager. "Now the opportunity for growth is not the same."

Even if you don't make millions from your time at Revolut, working there can transform your CV. "Revolut has a brand name that has given me access to job opportunities I would never have dreamed of," one former employee reflects. However, don't expect your time at Revolut to be easy. "Everyone there is a certain sort of person," says another former employee. "- They are bankers, not tech people."

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Tr
    TradAnon
    26 June 2024

    Quite a few mistakes here. Most obvious being the share price for the coming round. The current share price is in excess of the one quoted here. There are 60m shares out, take $40b valuation and the new round should be at $667

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