Voicemail transcription service SpinVox is offering staff share options over the summer instead of boring old wages - though the company is keen to emphasise this is about shared ownership rather than running out of money.
The offer came in a mail sent out to employees and is cited as a reaction to the credit crunch. No one is required to take advantage of the offer. Sources claimed the email said the move was necessary to avoid redundancies and some are taking the mail as an indication that the company has burnt through the $100m it raised in March last year.
SpinVox's business model relies on doing deals with network operators, something they've never managed to do in the UK despite being based in Buckinghamshire.
The premise is voicemail transcribed into text messages, with the transcription being done by machine with the support of humans for difficult bits. It's not clear quite how effective the transcription engine, "D2" as SpinVox terms it, or how many users actually want their voicemail transcribed, though some people swear by the service.
The company told us that it firmly believes in shared ownership, and that this move is just about allowing employees to own a little more of the company for which they work. It refused to comment on accusations that it's running out of cash. ®