#Asia It took US$60M to build Housing when I was there, and US$80M to shutdown after I left — Rahul Yadav


Rahul Yadav’s Facebook post, referring to Housing’s merger with PropTiger, evoked mixed responses from his fans and detractors

Rahul Yadav

Rahul Yadav

Remember Rahul Yadav? The CEO of SoftBank-backed Housing.com who got fired from the very own online realty startup that he built with his sweat and blood, for putting his foot in the mouth? The stubborn IIT Bombay dropout, who poked fund at Housing’s investors, saying they were “not intellectually capable to have a sensible discussion?”

The brat is once again in the news, this time through the word’s largest social media Facebook. He took to the platform to poke fun at the ridiculous valuation for which Housing got merged with News Corp-backed PropTiger.

“It took Housing.com in total $60Mn to build and revolutionise the whole industry till I was there (June 2012 – July 2015). And $80Mn+ to shut (July 2015 – Jan 2017) post I left,” he said in a facebook post on Wednesday.

He was apparently referring to Housing’s reported valuation of US$70-75 million when it got merged with PropTiger. When he was at the helm, the startup raised about US$60 million in funding, and got another US$80 million after his leaving.

Also Read: Deal with it, Rahul. Quitting isn’t an option. Emulate Steve Jobs and also learn media relations

As expected, his post evoked a barrage of response from his fans and detractors alike.

What people are saying

Below are a few interesting responses (all the responses are in verbatim, although slight changes have been made to some of the comments to make them sensible):

Anuj Jha: “Shiva (or ‘Siva’ the God of Destruction, according to Hindu mythology) was costlier than Brahma (God of Creation).”

Manoranjan Manish: “You know what the problem with Indian system is that ‘Ego per unit Achievement’ while nobody has a clue. Business works on trust, not superficial showbiz. Even you missed a lot of chinks, specially on business development.”

Parivesh Priye: “Stop sounding like (Mark) Zuckerberg. It was a replica of Zillow and Trulia. You gloat as if you had revolutionised an industry by creating something novel. The only claim you should make is that you copied it best and probably adapted in the most efficient way in an Indian context. Even then, padmapper.. trulia etc. were better.”

Ravi Thakur: “Birth Takes 9 months and can be normal or C section. Whereas, death can consume lot of money. Say child suffers from jaundice and he is in ICU.. He may die any day. It can be first day after birth. Or weeks. Months. Years … Now you tell being a Dad in this case [to] share your experience.”

YashVeer Jain: “Probably you would take 180Mn$ with hoardings across the city saying Bye and your Housing Logo!” (sic, apparently referring to the erection of two campaign hoardings in the same location)

Prakash Pandey: “So you made a big loss of $140 mn. Its not great to make fun of ur investors who trusted you and invested in you at one point of time.”

Renu Nehra: “Why are you so happy about your dream getting shut down? For whatever reasons you left, it was your baby! And to completely and always react (negatively) to whichever situations housing.com is going through after you left, just demeans your dream, your stand and your personality! I think you are bigger than that! Please inspire the ones following you to believe and think BIG!”

Yaganti Adithya: “Same would have happened even if u were there. But I appreciate u guys for raising tons of money and spending it on common people (through salaries).”

Arijit Dutta Rahul Yadav: “Dream shattered, hope disappeared, just missing you sir while new ceo take over the responsibility and introduce himself, we missed you sir, 100x … No one can ever take your place. You are the creator of housing.com.”

Tufail Shaikh: “I have worked for housing.com for more than 1.5 years heading Pune Operations … Truly must say, if Rahul Yadav was still a part of housing, the company would have been on another level!!! Making waves across the country … Rent shut down, ORA shut down, other services shut down. The company went down after the leadership of Jason Kothari … Few senior operations idiots screwed it even more.”

Yuvi Gaekwad: “You were one of the best young tech entrepreneur but dubious VCs and their board have ruined Indian startup ecosystem, burning huge money in dream to create monopoly. Housing and Flipkart were success stories now mere case studies. Vague valuations, no serious problem solving, impractical projections, no stronger team and revenue model hurt Indian startup ecosystem so many unicorns in a mess. I hope now entrepreneurs will be focused on ideas which will solve serious problems, are scalable and profitable in near future not Kiddish stuff.”

Rajeev Singh: “This is inevitable … the opex of site was higher than capex which makes it unsustainable … Moreover I doubt if it had any ROI model in the first place … I have huge doubt your presence would have done any wonders except attracting more investment to just push it down the drain … Even likes of Amazon started with frugality … Biggest problem of flashy startups is lot of cash to burn to get higher valuation … And that’s where unending losses start …”

Meteoric rise …

Yadav — who co-founded Housing with a group of IIT dropouts in 2012 — is true to a certain extent that it was his vision that made it one of the hottest startups in India. He was a man with a mettle — ambitious, hardworking, stubborn, strong-willed, and outspoken. Under his stewardship, the startup registered spectacular growth, scaled and expanded fast, and garnered millions of dollars in multiple rounds of funding from the who’s of who in the global VC investment space — SoftBank, Nexus Venture Partners, Helion Venture Partners, and Qualcomm Ventures, to name a few — in nearly quick succession.

Ironically, these are very same qualities that led to his downfall. He had a turbulent stint at Housing as CEO. His fall from grace began when he shot off an abusive e-mail to Shailendra Singh, MD of Sequoia Capital India, for poaching some of his employees. This was followed by an altercation with Housing’s own investors which ended up with Yadav calling them intellectually incapable.

… and fall

Yadav offered to resign from the post, but he was assuaged by VCs. However, the ceasefire agreement did not last long and within a few weeks, he was shown the door “for behaviour not befitting as CEO.” All this happened at a time when the market was slowly slipping into a slow-down, and Housing was burning massive money on marketing and hiring, almost insensibly.

After his removal, Jason Kothari, an outsider, was brought in to turn the company’s fortunes. In his earlier role as CEO of Valiant Entertainment, Kothari led its successful acquisition out of bankruptcy. He was brought in to replicate the same magic at Housing. He cut costs by firing employees en masse and scaling down operations. But he fell short of taking Housing to the next level, and eventually led to the merger. On Wednesday, Kothari was appointed the Chief Strategy and Investment Officer at Snapdeal — another beleaguered consumer Internet startup in India.

After his unceremonious exit from Housing, Yadav founded another startup called Intelligent Interface and raised funding from Flipkart Co-founders and YouWeCan Ventures, but the startup fizzled out. However, Yadav is not a man who will go off to sulk. He is a man who can rise like a Phoenix when you least expect it. Or, as someone commented to his Facebook post:

“Housing gets merged with many other companies like Proptiger etc … and then Rahul (Yadav) comes back as CEO. That’s all. CEO of multiple companies.”


The post It took US$60M to build Housing when I was there, and US$80M to shutdown after I left — Rahul Yadav appeared first on e27.

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