Update: Helion Venture Partners’ senior managing director Ashish Gupta has told Techcircle.in that “there is no basis” to reports that mention investors are looking to replace Housing.com CEO Rahul Yadav. The report also mentions that Yadav, in an internal mail, claimed that Times Internet owned online real estate portal Magicbricks.com is currently trying to “malign Housing’s position in India” while it closes a round of funding in the US. In the mail, he apparently also points to an ET report that had erroneously connected Yadav to the unfortunate late-night car accident involving Housing co-founder Advitya Sharma. ET has corrected the error since then. The report had also claimed that under Yadav’s leadership the company was spending about $8-10 million every month, to which Yadav it seems has written in the mail:
After paying for past and upcoming marketing blasts’ advances as well, we still have $75Mn+ in our bank. Ola cabs raised $200Mn. We raised $90Mn. Almost at the same time. Their cash burn is 125Cr per month and ours <20Cr that too with recent ramp up. Where is the high cash burn?
Earlier (March 12): Following a nasty email to Shailendra Singh, investors are considering to remove Rahul Yadav as chief executive officer of real estate portal Housing.com, reports the Economic Times. Sources told the publication that investors raised concerns over the strategy and conduct of Yadav and the he will likely be moved to oversee the product unit of the company.
In his email to Shailendra Singh, Yadav was upset that Sequoia Capital was looking to poach employees at Housing.com. “Now I just came to know you personally are completely after Housing’s employees and are brainwashing them to open some stupid incubation. If you don’t stop messing around with me, directly or even indirectly, I will vacate the best of your firm,” Yadav had said in his email.
In a response on online discussion forum Quora, Shailendra Singh said that Sequoia Capital had made an offer to one of Housing’s employees. “During this recruiting exercise, we evaluated over 100 candidates from multiple companies and geographies, and I personally met about a dozen of them, including two housing employees, whom I spent an hour each with. We made an offer to one of them, and he decided to join us,” Singh said.
MediaNama confirmed that Yadav had sent the email. In his response, Yadav sought to downplay the exchange. “We have very intense conversations with people and this keeps happening,” Yadav added .
MediaNama also tried to reach Shailendra Singh several times. The first time we tried reaching him, the call was cut and later his phone was switched off. We also sent him a number of texts which had the following queries:
- How many employees of Housing.com did Sequoia Capital look at poaching?
- What were the terms of their employment?
- Is this something you d regularly with other startups as well?
- What was the purpose of the incubation you were trying to set up?
We will update if we hear from him again about the emails.
Earlier in December 2014, Housing had raised $90 million from Softbank Group, with participation from Falcon Edge and other unnamed investors.The company plans to map over 40 million houses across 300 cities in India. The Economic Times also reported that Housing reported losses of Rs 48.8 crore on revenue of Rs 1.9 crore for the financial year ended March 31, 2014, according to filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and that the company has a monthly cash burn rate of Rs 50-63 crore.
Here’s the full text of the email Yadav sent:
From: Rahul Yadav
Date: Fri, Mar 6, 2015 at 7:39 PM
Subject: Last straw
To: Shailendra Singh (Sequoia Capital India)
I’ve been humble to you guys even after inhuman and unethical things that you’ve done with Housing in the past.
You did the same inhuman and unethical things with large number of entrepreneurs including Ola, TFS, Flipkart, Dexetra and many more…
Now I just came to know you personally are completely after Housing’s employees and are brainwashing them to open some stupid incubation.
If you don’t stop messing around with me, directly or even indirectly, I will vacate the best of your firm.
Also, this mark the beginning of the end of Sequoia Cap in India.
Try me :)
Here’s the full text of Shailendra Singh’s reply on Quora:
Iam deeply hurt by this e-mail. I received this at 10 pm last weekend when I was in Hong Kong with the rest of our global partnership, and it came as a surprise and a big disappointment. My best guess is that this mail has been triggered by an offer that we made to one of the Housing employes to join us as an analyst. Here is some more context – based on feedback from entrepreneurs in India, we decided to expand our analyst pool to include younger team members who have start–up experience. During this recruiting exercise, we evaluated over 100 candidates from multiple companies and geographies, and I personally met about a dozen of them, including two housing employees, whom I spent an hour each with. We made an offer to one of them, and he decided to join us.
While these are the facts, I would still like to use this opportunity to talk about something larger and close to my heart – how will we all work together to create a better start-up ecosystem in india? During my career in the valley, what stood out is a feeling of community – amongst entrepreneurs, employees, and investors – and a sense of professionalism, not personalizing the competition between funds or individuals, and having a drink together in the evening. For us, that means not being vindictive and petty and instead being collaborative with the ecosystem – to focus on what matters in the long term. While I don’t know Rahul well personally, and have only met him 1-1 once, I felt incredibly nice to read a recent article about how Housing has been one of the most active breeding grounds for new startups. At Sequoia, we consider it a privilege to do what we do – and be trusted by some of the best and brightest entrepreneurs, not just to be in their cap table, but to have a seat around the table to help set direction for their companies. We take our role very seriously, and we are deeply committed to our portfolio companies and their teams. Honestly, we have neither time nor intention to do anything else, let alone target a company we have no ownership in.
Finally, I want to also make it clear to all the trolls who are bound to jump on this – I will not respond to anything you have to say as long as you hide behind the cowardly façade of anonymity. We are incredibly fortunate to work at Sequoia, proud of our entrepreneurs, our track record, and our team and their professional accomplishments, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the current and next several generations of entrepreneurs. I encourage people who have questions or concerns about any of this to reach out to me directly. Or even better, talk to any of the entrepreneurs we are privileged to be partners with.
I wish the housing team and Rahul good luck.