Most of the successful start ups are facing the heat of COVID-19. They have all been forced to cut costs to conserve cash and that has created fears that competition may poach them by offering a better price. That is why, India’s leading consumer internet start ups are offering additional stock options to employees to retain them following broad pay cuts. Zomato, Oyo Hotels and Grofers are among those adding up to stock options for employees in the midst of salary reductions. Last month, Zomato initiated a voluntary salary reduction programme offering affected employees’ additional stock in lieu of the cash cuts. However, it remains to be seen if employees bite the bullet as the value of these ESOPs will predicate on the ability of these start ups to live through these tough times.