Bespin Global Shares How They Simplified Stock Options Management with QuotaBook
Bespin Global is a company founded in 2015 by HanJoo Lee, who serves as the current vice chairman of the Korea Software Industry Association and co-founded SparkLabs and Hostway Corporation, with a strong belief in the cloud market’s potential. Not long ago, it was also selected as the “world’s top 10 cloud companies” by Gartner. In line with its mission of helping every company adopt cloud IT, Bespin secured leading companies such as Samsung, SK, and Doosan as its customers.
So far, its total funding amount has reached around US $185M from investors like Premier Partners, Altos Ventures, SK Telecom, and more. With its fast growth, Bespin also quickly adopted employee stock option plans supported by CEO Lee’s philosophy and its unique organizational culture.
We heard from Seongwon Han, Bespin’s Global HR Manager, about the difficulties the team had to go through with ESOP and how they handled the problem.
Seongwon Han (S) : Hi, I’m currently in charge of personnel management planning, organizational culture, and global HR-related tasks at Bespin Global. More specifically, we design and operate compensation plans for employees such as stock options, incentives, and benefits.
S: I used to work in HR for a large logistics company for about 6 years. There were many growth opportunities but I felt like I wasn’t building my own expertise so was always searching for something more. Then, I came across a video of Bespin’s CEO HanJoo Lee and was deeply impressed by his dynamic and challenging spirit. I became curious about the company and ended up joining Bespin with the confidence that I’d be able to build my own expertise and contribute to the company.
Also, I went to high school and university in China which made me interested in the companies actively expanding into China. Bespin Global was actively doing business not only in China but globally, in the U.S., Singapore, Middle East and more, so I was naturally attracted.
S: Bespin is a company that helps you use cloud properly. It is our vision and mission to make every institution and company enjoy the value of cloud IT with the world’s most automated service.
To put it plainly, it can be considered as a ‘relocation service.’ We help companies transfer the data collected in pieces to a cloud system, just as a relocation service company packs, transports, and unpacks the items for movers.
Not long ago, we also contributed to quickly stabilizing the ‘vaccine pre-booking system’ in Korea, which had been disrupted as too many people accessed the system simultaneously. I was glad that this opportunity allowed us to help people and also have our name out there.
S: As I just compared to the ‘relocation service,’ we operate a ‘delivery platform’ that provides comprehensive cloud services such as relocation, establishment, operation, and management of the cloud environment. We also support ‘public cloud services’ that help each company set up and operate cloud systems such as Google, AWS, and GCP.
What makes us different from other general cloud services is that we have also developed our own automated cloud management platform, ‘OpsNow.’ On this platform, we not only handle the delivery part but also sales and implementation of software programs.
I guess we can say that we’re doing everything related to cloud. It’s really all about the cloud. (smile)
S: Bespin Global is a company composed of people of a wide age range between twenties and fifties. We are a startup, but we have regular hiring of entry-level in batches as well as ad-hoc hiring of experienced employees in their forties and fifties that bring in expertise and knowhow. Within an organization where such diverse age groups coexist, we try to promote collaboration and growth by focusing on the core values of ‘Learn, Do, Share’.
S: Our CEO granted every employee stock options rather than one-time cash bonuses to encourage and share more profits together from a long-term perspective. We still regularly grant options every year, which I think is pretty rare and unconventional.
When the company first granted ESO, many were unfamiliar even with its concept so the CEO arranged a meeting to explain everything. He made sure employees understood how valuable stock options are and how the company and employees can grow together.
S: When stock options were granted to only a small number of executives, there was little difficulty in managing the lists through Excel and organizing hardcopy contracts. However, as the company grew rapidly and started to grant options to hundreds of employees, this was no longer possible.
Especially with many employees working from home nowadays, it became more difficult to manage hardcopy of contracts, organize terms of the new-comers and leavers and so on.
S: Two things actually. First was the online ESO contract feature and second was the automation of ESO terms and vesting management.
We really needed a tool to help us out with the two so I started searching online and found Quotabook.
S: Very well! We now manage stock options effectively through Quotabook.
Each company has a variety of cases such as different stock option plans, exercising conditions and methods. For us, we needed to implement our very specific terms into the system in order to use the tool to manage everything, and Quotabook was very helpful in satisfying our needs by tailoring everything for us.
Also, we are a Korean company but have staffs globally. We also grant stock options to them, so it was good that Quotabook was already prepared and supports everything globally as well. We requested a lot but everything was reflected immediately in less than a week.
S: Absolutely! Early this year, we even presented Quotabook to our executives as an example of how our HR team is improving work efficiency. We saved the lead time almost by two weeks, and that’s a pretty long time if converted into hours.
For instance, we had to write up each contract in Words documents before, but now we simply update the name, emails, option quantity, and vesting conditions in the Excel template, upload it and the work is done. Plus, employees can sign the contract digitally, no more in written form.
From the employees’ point of view, they now understand stock options better and are highly motivated. Before using Quotabook, they kept hardcopy contracts somewhere and wouldn’t even look into the terms but now, Quotabook is linked to the very first page of our internal portal so they can check their options in a second. Employees can also see the vesting status for their options. Down the road, we plan to handle the exercise process through Quotabook as well, and I think it’ll be even more convenient.
S: I really am. I’m so satisfied that I even promote Quotabook on online communities for HR people. Sometimes I feel like I’m the sales manager at Quotabook (laughter). I really want other HR managers to experience what I felt when I started using Quotabook. It’s not just a simple introduction. It’s an avid user explaining how efficient and simple your work can be by using Quotabook.
Whenever I ask any questions online, Quotabook team not only guides through the feature itself but also provides background knowledge, related regulations and so on, which made me realize that everyone at Quotabook is experts in this field. I actually learn a lot while using Quotabook.
S: Well, ever since I got this question prior to this meeting, I’ve been thinking a lot. No matter how much I think, there’s literally nothing! It might sound unrealistic to say this, but all the features I needed were included, and any extra ones I required were updated very soon. I know very well that the requests I made were never easy. Nevertheless, Quotabook team didn’t pass over a single request and figured out solutions. I really can’t find anything disappointing.
S: When signing the first online contract through Quotabook, the signer could sign anywhere on the contract document. I then had to go over the documents to see if the signatures were rightfully made and properly placed, which was a hassle. So I asked Quotabook to automatically fixate a position for signatures and within the next months I was able to proceed e-signatures more efficiently.
S: The ‘Cap Table’ function!
Usually, stock options are managed by the HR team while the cap table is tracked by the finance team through their own system., which makes it difficult whenever there is a need to share and communicate on equity data as a whole. With Quotabook, we can manage the cap table and stock options at the same time, which is a super effective way to settle HR and finance tasks. Just by adopting this single platform, we were able to reduce communication costs as well.
Make equity simple with QuotaBook - QuotaBook is a SaaS-based equity management platform for startups, their investors and employees that replaces spreadsheets and manual work. Startups and VCs can sync crucial data on equity such as cap table or employee stock options, as well as investor relation updates through our platform so that every stakeholder can communicate through a single source of truth. QuotaBook is the no.1 equity management platform for startups, used by 2000+ startups and VCs in Korea, backed by more than 20 Venture firms and investors.