Housing.com is not just another startup anymore. The real estate startup, started back in 2012 has been in news for all bad reasons in last few weeks. The scene started with Housing CEO, Rahul Yadav’s letter to Shailendra Singh, (MD Sequoia Capital, India) written on March 06th, 2015. The full text of the mail reads somewhat like
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.
The letter was made public by the guy to whom it was sent. Shailendra Singh immediately took it to Quora (One of the most popular destination to ask questions and get them answered by community experts) and posted his reply on the portal itself, without replying to Rahul Yadav via mail. The reply from Shailendra Singh read exactly like
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.
The whole spat left nothing but Rahul Yadav and his company in news for the bad reasons. Shailendra Singh is one of the most respected figures in Indian Startup market and Rahul Yadav, along with his company was still in process of making it stable with several rounds of funding and a pretty decent performance since the time they were around.
Before we get onto it any further, here’s my point on Hosing Journey over the years.
Started by 12 IIT graduates in June 2012, Housing.com currently has 9 founders to cater to the real estate issues and needs to the Indian population. Since the start, Housing.com has had several rounds of funding which include investors like Nexus Venture Partners, Helion Venture Partners, Softbank and Falconedge. In total, Housing.com has raised over 100 million USD in less than 3 years of operation making them one of the biggest real estate startups in the Indian history.
Housing.com has had a brief history to show unlike the other competitors in the same domain, however, the brand has seen high and lows in this short span. The competition in real estate is pretty tough with players like 99acres, MagicBricks, CommonFloor, Makaan and IndiaProperty, but unlike the other struggling brands, Housing.com has grown up to become one of the reliable real estate brand covering over 20 cities in India including metros like Bangalore, Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
Housing.Com has currently mapped around 150,000 properties across the country and with all the promotion going around, the company is gaining a few thousand listings everyday. September 2013 was marked as a major milestone in the journey of Housing, when the team spent over a million dollars in buying the Housing.com domain as well as the helpline number that reads 033-3333 3333.
The CEO, Rahul Yadav has been one of the most talked about points in last few months for several reasons. The 26 year old guy, basically from a small city of Alwar in Rajasthan, India is an IIT Bombay graduate who had the problem of finding an accommodation soon after he dropped out of the formal studies in IIT. First few months, Rahul along with his friends made some quick bucks as brokers before taking this plan as a full time one to launch an interactive map based portal to help users find an accommodation based on various filters. He has been often termed as a guy with bold attitude and care-free nature, in a statement to Forbes, he said
“If something doesn’t exist, build it yourself, and if it doesn’t work, move on”
The story of Housing.com and Rahul Yadav pretty much goes the same way. A few people trying to give an alternative option to Indian Real Estate market and when Rahul Yadav felt it wasn’t working, he decided to move on, well, but not without showing that bold attitude to the management and the investors with the resignation letter in the April end which read
“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 hours) that I only have 3L (hours) in my life. 3L hours are certainly not much to waste with you guys,”
Well, this was just another example of how bold Rahul can be, the typical Indian youth and a CEO of a multi-million dollar company who has nothing to lose in this startup ecosystem. But for sure, his acts have surely given a lesson to the investors, who will think twice before going for the young IIT graduates. The moves from Rahul are all set to make it tough for other entrepreneurs in the Indian as well as Global market, but everything happens for a reason and we can not ignore it.
However, just a couple of days after the resignation, Rahul apologized for his act and he was reinstated as the CEO of Housing after a meeting with the investors and other board members. A week after he got back into the company, Rahul allegedly pledged all his stakes to the employees.
All what happened in last few weeks in Housing and in Indian startup scenario, has taught the fellow entrepreneurs a lot and it is yet to be seen on how the company responds in the near future and a guy like Rahul where he has less than ever control on the venture.
Stay tuned for updates.