Founded by Rahul Yadav and Advitiya Sharma fresh out of IIT Bombay, Housing.com was seen by many as one of the big success stories in India's e-commerce space. However, recent developments give a clue to the stresses and tension that was bubbling under the surface. It seems a few days back Rahul Yadav resigned from the company, and did so by sending an angry letter to the investors and board members of Housing.com.
As reported by Economic Times, Yadav said, "I don't think you guys are intellectually capable enough to have any sensible discussion anymore."
This is the full text of the 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.
And the response, also published in 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
The news become public on Tuesday and later in the day it emerged that Yadav has now withdrawn his resignation. Housing.com issued the following statement Tuesday evening IST:
In the relatively short period of its existence, Housing has revolutionised the real estate market in India and it continues to lead and disrupt with world class product innovations.
Today the Housing board met, and has been reconstituted to include all main shareholder representatives. After some good conversations the board has reaffirmed its faith in Rahul Yadav's vision at Housing.
Rahul commented that "After some frank and healthy discussions with the Board I have agreed to withdraw my resignation and I apologizs for my unacceptable comments about the board members. I look forward to staying on at Housing as CEO and building an even greater company, while working in full harmony with the board."
Housing initially shot to fame after Japan's SoftBank invested $90 million in the company, and many praised the founders' gumption in spending an alleged $500,000 to buy the Housing.com domain (the company was earlier operating as Housing.co.in) but earlier this year, things started to take a downhill turn.
In March this year, Yadav got into a very public spat with Shailendra Singh, a partner at the VC fund Sequoia India.
Singh had met Yadav to discuss funding Housing but had eventually declined. Later, Housing got its funding from SoftBank, and that would've been the end of the story but then one of the senior employees at Housing was hired away by Sequoia.
At that point, Yadav - perhaps feeling victimised - sent out an email to Singh, calling him "unethical and inhuman." It was an angry letter, but that could have been the end of the matter. Unfortunately, the letter was then leaked to Quora. Many took it as a joke at first, a hoax, but then Shailendra Singh posted on Quora trying to end the matter. That was perhaps a bad idea, because Yadav posted on Quora again, essentially repeating his allegations about dirty tactics, and adding that while Singh was being fake, he [Yadav], would be honest and say that he does not wish "good for you or your firm."
These letters, combined with the exit letter that Yadav wrote have created a negative image around the young founder. Deepinder Goyal, the Zomato co-founder, tweeted, "Housing is what happens when investors leave founders with little skin in the game. Especially, 20-year-old founders with nothing to lose." Whether these developments will also have an impact on the relationship between entrepreneurs and investors here remains to be seen, but it's clear that there is scope for an open discussion around this in India.