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Memphis's ESO Fund files for $150MM Fund V to back venture option moves
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ESO Fund's James Lackie

MEMPHIS-based The Employee Stock Option Fund (ESO Fund) filed on a $150MM venture-capital raise for ESO Venture Fund V LP (Delaware).

Fund V's general partner is ESO GP V LLC, which shows managing directors including Memphis-based James Lackie, Stephen Roberts and CFO Michael Sousoulas CPA, as well as San Mateo, Calif.-based Scott Chou. ESO's team page is here.

In 2019 and 2021, ESO Fund III's and IV's filings each cited $100MM goals. Some ESO filings here.

The aforementioned Lackie is, among other roles, also cofounder and managing partner of Memphis-based River Street Management, which lists ESO Fund among its own investments.

Lackie is, among further roles, chairman of the board of directors of Youth Villages Inc. of Memphis, TN, having served on their board since 2005. He also serves on the board of trustees of the University of Memphis Foundation.

In summer 2012, the three entrepreneurs cofounded The Employee Stock Option Fund (ESO Fund), which is described online as "a private investment vehicle that assists current and former employees of venture-backed, private companies to cover the expenses associated with exercising their stock options or to receive liquidity against existing shares. The Fund's strategy is to generate the high investment return profile of successful early-stage venture capital with the reduced risk and shorter timelines to liquidity of later-stage venture capital."

Elsewhere online, the company is described as providing "current and former employees of venture backed companies with financial help needed to exercise options and cover associated taxes. It has a due diligence strategy and transaction protocol to evaluate and close transactions very quickly.

ESO Fund provides a new approach to exercising stock options without financial stress by eliminating the [Alternative Minimum Tax, AMT] normally associated with exercising stock options. The fund provides Individuals who have already exercised private stock options with partial liquidity on the same terms that allows the owners to recover capital, while still retaining the potential upside from the stock."

ESO Fund discusses liquidity issues here. Earlier VNC notes on ESO here. VNC

. last edited 1715 2 May 2022

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Tags: alternative minimum tax, AMT, capital, employee stock option fund, entrepreneurs, equity, ESO Fund, founders, James Lackie, Michael Sousoulas, private equity, River Street Management, Scott Chou, startups, Stephen Roberts, stock options, taxes, venture capital, Youth Villages

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