Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Stock-based Compensation

Stock-based Compensation
9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2021
Stock-based Compensation  
Stock-based Compensation

12. Stock-based Compensation

On the Closing Date of the Business Combination, the Legacy Canoo 2018 Employee Stock Option Plan (“Legacy Canoo 2018 Equity Plan”) was converted to the Company’s 2018 Employee Stock Option and Grant Plan (“2018 Equity Plan”) with the Legacy Canoo ordinary shares authorized for issuance pursuant to previously issued awards converted at the Exchange Ratio of 1.239434862 to the Company’s common stock and the exercise price per option and purchase price per restricted shares decreased proportionately by the same conversion ratio. See additional discussion on the retroactive application of recapitalization in Note 2 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8 of the Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Stock Options

Employees are eligible to be granted options to purchase shares of the Company’s common stock under the Company’s equity plans. All options granted will expire ten years from their date of issuance. Stock options granted generally vest 25% on the one-year anniversary of the date when vesting starts with the remaining balance vesting equally on a monthly basis over the subsequent three years. New shares are issued from authorized shares of common stock upon the exercise of stock options.

Under the 2018 Equity Plan, employees may exercise stock options prior to vesting. The Company has the right to repurchase any unvested (but issued) shares upon termination of service of an employee at the original exercise price. The consideration received for the early exercise of an option is considered to be a deposit and the related amount is recorded as a liability.

Restricted Stock Awards (“RSAs”)

The Company’s RSAs consist of restricted shares. From November 4, 2018 to May 6, 2019, Legacy Canoo sold restricted shares to its founders, which include certain investors, for a converted purchase price of $0.008 per share (the “Founder Restricted Shares”), with the following vesting conditions: 12.5% vest when the Legacy Canoo achieves $100 million in cumulative funding from inception (which condition was satisfied December 18, 2018, accordingly this portion of the 2019 awards was vested upon issuance); 37.5% vest ratably over a period of thirty-six months from December 18, 2018; and 50% vest on the date the Company starts commercial production of its first vehicle (“SOP”), which the Company determined was not probable of being met as of December 31, 2020.

On December 18, 2020, Legacy Canoo approved an amendment to change the SOP vesting goal of all eligible Founder Restricted Shares held by Legacy Canoo’s executives to time-based vesting with a merger trigger, which was satisfied on December 21, 2020. The investor-held Founder Restricted Shares’ SOP vesting goal was not amended. The amended time-based vesting of the SOP portion has a cliff vesting of 25% on March 18, 2020 with the remaining shares vesting quarterly over 36 months thereafter. The amendment was accounted for as a grant modification in December 2020.

The Company has an irrevocable, exclusive option to repurchase all or any portion of the unvested Founder Restricted Shares at the converted original per share purchase price for the shares upon termination or the cessation of services provided by the stockholder.

Restricted Stock Units (“RSUs”)

Under the 2020 Equity Incentive Plan, employees are compensated through various forms of equity, including RSUs. Each RSU represents a contingent right to receive one share of the Company’s common stock. During the three months ended September 30, 2021, no RSUs were granted. During the nine months ended September 30, 2021, 6,985,548 RSUs were granted, of which 998,994 vested immediately and the remainder subject to time-based vesting.

On May 14, 2021, the Company awarded 500,000 RSUs to the CEO. The RSUs vest in one-third increments on the first, second, and third anniversaries of the vesting commencement date, December 21, 2020, subject to continuous service.

Performance-Based Restricted Stock Units (“PSUs”)

PSUs represent the right to receive a share of the Company’s common stock if service, performance, and market conditions, or a combination thereof, are met over a defined period. PSUs that contain a market condition, such as stock price milestones, are subject to a Monte-Carlo simulation model to determine the grant date fair value by simulating a range of possible future stock prices for the Company over the performance period. The grant date fair value of the market condition PSUs is recognized as compensation expense over the greater of the Monte Carlo simulation model’s derived service period and the arrangement’s explicit service period, assuming both conditions must be met.

PSUs subject to performance conditions, such as operational milestones, are measured on the grant date, the total fair value of which is calculated as the product of the number of PSUs and the grant date stock price. Compensation expense for PSUs with a performance condition is recorded each period based upon a probability assessment of the expected outcome of the performance metric with a final adjustment upon measurement at the end of the performance period. The following PSUs were granted to the CEO in the second quarter of 2021, with a total grant date fair value of approximately $15.9 million:

During April 2021, in connection with the appointment of the CEO, the Company awarded 2,000,000 PSUs. The PSUs will vest in one-third increments based upon the achievement of certain stock price milestones during the performance period ending October 2025. In addition, the PSUs are subject to a service condition which requires continuous service through October 2023;

During May 2021, the Company awarded 1,703,828 PSUs. The PSUs vest based on the Company's achievement of certain specified stock price milestones over a three-year performance period ending May 2024, subject to continued service with the Company through the applicable vesting dates; and

During May 2021, the Company awarded 300,000 PSUs whereby vesting depends upon the occurrence of certain operational milestone events by May 2024.

As of grant date, the Company’s analysis determined that these operational milestone events are probable of achievement. The compensation expense recognized for the PSUs awarded to the CEO in the second quarter of 2021 was $1.8 million and $3.0 million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021, respectively.

The following table summarizes the Company’s stock-based compensation expense by line item for the three- and nine months ended periods presented in the condensed consolidated statements of operations (in thousands):

Three months ended

Nine months ended

September 30, 

September 30, 







Research and development











Selling, general and administrative


















The Company’s total unrecognized compensation cost as of September 30, 2021, was $59.6 million.