After having resigned in a heavy headed sort of way last week, Rahul Yadav, the CEO of Housing, seems to have un-resigned and apologized for his ‘unacceptable comments about the board members’, reports ET. However, while Yadav will stay CEO of Housing, a committee of five headed by SoftBank’s Jonathan Bullock will oversee all major decisions.
Earlier Yadav apparently wrote a ‘scornful’ resignation letter on the 30th of April to board members and investors, criticising their intellectual capabilities and giving them a one week deadline to ‘help the transition’. The investors responded the next day with an acknowledgement of the resignation through the law firm Morrison & Foerster. This saga has been going on for quite sometime now, and for the uninitiated, here are the complete turn of events.
Mar 6, 2015: Yadav fires a mail to Shailendra Singh of Sequoia Capital India alleging him of poaching Housing employees.
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 :)
March 10-11: Shailendra Singh takes to Quora to post his reply:
I am 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.
Not entirely done, Yadav trolls in a fit of rage:
March 12: ET reported that investors were considering removing Yadav as CEO of Housing. According to the report, an investor said that “The discussion (for a new leadership team and to replace Yadav as CEO) has been going on for the last couple of months but concrete search has just begun. (We have) been closely monitoring the company and guiding the founders. But this can’t actively go on forever.”
Responding to the article the same day, Yadav shot of an email to Housing employees. Source: Quora.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Rahul Yadav email@example.com
Date: Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 5:19 AM
Subject: Investors considering to remove Housing.com co-founder Rahul Yadav as CEO: Economic Times
To: Everyone firstname.lastname@example.org
Investors called me and said Times is behind you, be ready for such story
MagicBricks (Our competitor and a Times Group Company) is trying to close funding round in US while malign Housing’s position in India.
Housing is being loved in US.
And they linked me with that unfortunate car accident. They have no shame!
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?
Overseas expansion: We WISH to. We DREAM to. How come dreaming is leading to cash burn in international? Please suggest what to do with this Times Group :)
Have a good day.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: “Suhasini Mehta (Nexus Venture)”
Date: Mar 11, 2015 4:57 PM
Subject: Fwd: Query on Housing.com
To: “Suvir Sujan (Nexus Venture)”
Nonsense story! My advice is not to respond at all.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Madhav Times Group email@example.com
Date: Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 4:51 PM
Subject: Query on Housing.com
To: “Suvir Sujan (Nexus Venture)” Cc: “Suhasini Mehta (Nexus Venture)”
Hope you are doing well. We are writing to you today to seek your comments on a story about Housing that I reached out yesterday for
We understand that:
- While the Housing team is very much product and technology savvy, the CEO is unable to address problems of scale and leadership within the company.
- There have been continuous disagreements on the way the company has been spending investor money, in terms of new country launches, hiring, marketing despite board intervention
- The focus of Housing has drifted away from listings to new properties and currently the company lacks direction
- Keeping all this in mind the board has had been considering for the last couple of months to get an external professional CEO while co-founder Rahul Yadav focuses building out product/technology further
We will be writing this story for tomorrow’s edition and would be great if you could comment on each of the points listed by 7 pm.
Look forward to hearing back from you on this.
March 17: Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd, the holding company of Times Group sent a legal notice to real estate portal Housing.com owner, Locon Solutions Pvt Ltd., and its board for alleged defamation. The notice asked Housing.com CEO Rahul Yadav and its directors to issue an unconditional apology, and also wanted Rs 100 crore ($16 million) in damages.
April 6: Responding to the rumours that investors were seeking to replace him considering that all the co-founders stake put together was less than 10%, Yadav told the Mint that “That’s not true, I alone have about 10% stake. According to the latest cap table, all founders put together have a stake of about 20%.”
Interestingly, an ET report released today, mentions that SoftBank owns 32% of Housing, Nexus Venture Partners owns 19% and Helion Venture Partners owns 10%. ET had reported similar numbers; Yadav owns about a 4.57% stake in the company, Nexus Ventures owns 19%, SoftBank 32%, and Helion Ventures and Falcon Edge about 10% each.
April 30: Rahul Yadav finally resigns on the 30th of April, giving board members 7 days to find a replacement. The content of his letter:
Dear board members and investors, I don’t think you guys are intellectually capable enough to have any sensible discussion anymore. This is something which I not just believe but can prove on your faces also! I had calculated long back (by taking avg life expectancy minus avg sleeping hrs) that I only have ~3L (hours) in my life. ~3L hrs are certainly not much to waste with you guys!
Hence resigning from the position of Directorship, Chairmanship and the CEO position of the company. I’m available for the next 7 days to help in the transition. Won’t give more time after that. So please be efficient in this duration.
May 1: The letter by investors acknowledging Yadav’s resignation came in the next day through the law firm Noah Carr Morrison & Foerster (Source: ET)
In a discussion among the Investor group, I was requested to send you an express acknowledgement, on their behalf and without any other effect on the terms of our agreements, of your April 30 resignation from your positions (1) on the board of directors (including as chairman and managing director) and (2) as CEO.
With best regards Noah Carr Morrison & Foerster LLP
May 5 (yesterday): Yadav backtracks, apologises for his behaviour and is brought back on board as CEO of the company.
As the news of his resignation spread, the Internet generally seemed relieved for it.
What not to do after IIT: 1. Become Chetan Bhagat. 2. Write resignation letters like Rahul Yadav.
— Sanjana (@mvsanjana) May 5, 2015
“I have 3L hours i don’t want to spend it with you.” I want to see Rahul Yadav’s love letters. — Joylita (@Joylita) May 5, 2015
— Prabhjot Singh (@prabhjot2991) May 5, 2015
However, as the news of his un-resigning spread, relief mostly turned to amusement.
Housing. com’s CEO Rahul Yadav, Quits and Then Withdraws His Resignation. Arvind Kejriwal Must Be His Role Model. ;)
— Sir Ravindra Jadeja (@SirJadeja) May 6, 2015
I want to resign from twitter. Thinking of getting my resignation letter drafted by Rahul Yadav so that i can come back with more followers.
— Keh Ke Peheno (@coolfunnytshirt) May 5, 2015
Pretty sure, this Rahul Yadav of Housing is the next Big Boss contestant.
— Arnab Goswami (@3DArnab) May 5, 2015
First things first, Rahul Yadav needs to activate the ‘undo send’ option from Google Labs in Gmail immediately.
— Akshar (@AksharPathak) May 5, 2015
The resignation letter by Rahul Yadav should be reprinted with “Performed by professionals. Don’t try at your workplace.” disclaimer.
— Rahul Roushan (@rahulroushan) May 5, 2015