#Asia These startup-related controversies in 2015 will leave you shocked


Masturbation and threats by cab drivers, intolerance and heated email exchanges were among the horrible highlights of 2015


Masturbation is strictly a private affair, but what if a driver decides to ‘find some sexual pleasure on his own’ while he is behind the wheel and while a woman passenger is in his cab?

Wait, this is not just wild imagination, but a a real-life incident in India — the fastest-growing market in the globe. The world came to know about this episode when the victim took to social media to narrate her horrifying experience with the driver of TaxiForSure, a subsidiary of SoftBank-backed cab-hailing company Ola.

As a market grows, crimes and controversies are also bound to grow. Rapes, masturbation and threats by drivers, intolerance among entrepreneurs, heated email exchanges between entrepreneur and VCs using foul language are some things now commonplace in Asia, especially in India.

Here we bring you a list of five horrifying incidents that occurred in Asia in 2015 that will leave you disturbed. Forever.

1. My one hand is on the wheels and the other on the…

The ‘on-the-move’ masturbation episode occurred in July. The woman victim in the story was travelling in a TaxiForSure cab from south Delhi’s Saket to Faridabad in Haryana.

In her own words on a social media post: “I am usually on calls when in transit, so I had to ask the driver to mellow the music thrice. As I was roughly 25 minutes from my destination, the driver got impatient and started driving brashly. Moreover, he seemed extremely restless, anxious and kept mumbling something to himself. I discontinued my call and asked him to drive properly in the most polite manner possible. I was about to make another call when I noticed that he was masturbating while driving.”

Also Read: The 4 most awful gaffes of 2015

Although the driver in question was asked to go, the incident left an indelible mark in the conscience of the country.

2. ‘I will thrash you’

In yet another incident in the same month, a driver contracted to Ola allegedly threatened a passenger with physical harm after he refused to pay for brake damage that happened during the trip.

The passenger, Osama Salman, narrated his bitter story in a Facebook post:

“Olacabs, your driver PANKAJ KUMAR on July 8, 2015, in a Tata Sumo threatened to hurt me after I refused to pay for the breaks in the car falling and almost getting into an accident. After 5 or so attempts to guide the driver to where I was, I was forced to give up and walk a considerable distance to get to the car while carrying luggage with me. When the car neared Pragati Maidan (kilometres away from my drop off point) at around 2:11pm, I was almost about to get into an accident, but the driver controlled it and stopped by the side. He told me the brakes had failed. I was upset because not only did I have to deal with absolutely horrible service, my life was put in danger. The driver said I had to pay Rs 227. He followed me around after I got off the cab and when I s(t)opped an auto, he gestured the auto to go away. He said: pay up or the consequences will be dire. I was taken aback but I gave him the money because I did not want trouble. he took the money and left.”


This came as a shocker at a time when various state governments were mulling revoking licences to operate after rape allegations against an Uber driver in Delhi.

3. We are the real ‘disrupters’

A group of ‘hooligans’ disrupted the work of a group of young entrepreneurs for “the disruption they are causing in the market”

Also Read: 10 global tech predictions for 2016

This happened in September. The Bangalore office of NoBroker — a VC-funded online real estate marketplace that connects flat owners and tenants directly with each other by eliminating middle men — came under attack from dozens of brokers.

The assailants gathered and tried to forcefully enter the office premises with the intent of damaging property, battering employees and disrupting work.

When the founders and some of its employees tried to stop them, the miscreants resorted to verbal and physical assault. After some of the staff members got hurt, NoBroker informed the police, who rushed to the spot and prevented the situation from getting worse.

NoBroker’s Co-founder and CEO Amit Kumar Agarwal had told e27 that the intention of the assailants was to intimidate them by hurting their employees and by breaking computers.

“They wanted us to stop the business and vacate the premises. In the age of the Internet and mobile penetration, this assault in an attempt to hamper technology-based evolution. This is clearly an indication of the disruption that NoBroker is causing in the real estate market, which is leading to huge savings for the customer and the pinch is felt by the brokers.”

4. You are over-speeding


Malaysia-based Speedrent also went through a similar experience about six months ago. Speedrent is an app that allows landlords to rent out their properties to potential tenants, bypassing property agents.

The number of landlords using the app was on the rise as they found it convenient to use the app. It was economically viable, plus they didn’t need to go through the hassle of interacting with property agents.

This apparently irked a group of brokers who sent a hate mail to the founders of the startup in really bad English:


The fight is expected to go from bad to worse, as the real estate industry is going through a bad patch across the globe.

5. Dude, don’t mess with me

Rahul Yadav has now become a household name, not just in India but across the world. The controversial former CEO of SoftBank-backed Housing — one of the fastest-growing online real estate portals in India — was not that soft when it came to VCs messing up with him.

A few months ago, the brat sent a mail to Shailendra Singh, MD of Sequoia Capital, for attempting to poach one of his employees.

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

Also Read: 8 high-profile Asian shutdowns/pivots of 2015

This public spat with Singh shocked and irked the investors and they decided to remove him from the post of CEO. As the talks were progressing, he shot off a mail to the investors:

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 seven days to help in the transition. Won’t give more time after that. So please be efficient in this duration.

What follows this episode is history. He is now out of the company and recently started his own venture.

Image Credit: Andrey Armyagov/Shutterstock

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