Rahul Yadav: Housing.Com's Maverick Entrepreneur




Case Details Case Introduction 1 Case Introduction 2 Case Excerpts

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Excerpts

CONTROVERSIES

On March 6, 2015, Yadav was involved in a social media spat with Shailendra Singh (Singh), Managing Director of Sequoia. He accused Singh of unethically poaching Housing.com’s employees. Yadav’s mail stated, ‘I just came to know that you personally are 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.’ In response to the mail, Singh said he was deeply hurt by the e-mail and that Sequoia had made an offer to one Housing.com employee for an analyst’s position. Singh provided context by pointing out that more than 100 candidates from several companies had been evaluated, as Sequoia felt a need to hire younger analysts with start-up experience. According to Singh, “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.”

Despite Singh’s response, Yadav was unrelenting in his attack and said, “You clearly know what shit you’ve done with multiple entrepreneurs and start-ups in India with your cheap and dirty tactics. This time I know what you have done is a very small thing. ..

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INVESTORS RETAIN YADAV

On May 5, 2015, Yadav had a meeting with the board members of Housing.com, including the investors. At the meeting, the investors reaffirmed their faith in Yadav and announced that they would retain him as CEO of the company. Subsequently, Yadav apologized to the board and investors and withdrew his resignation. According to him, “After some frank and healthy discussions with the board I have agreed to withdraw my resignation and I apologize for my unacceptable comments about the board members...”

THE RESPONSE

Industry experts felt that though Yadav had withdrawn his resignation, the brand image of Housing.com had been badly dented. They said that while differences between investors and founders were not uncommon, in the case of Housing.com, both the founders and investors had acted immaturely. According to brand expert, Harish Bijoor, “For Housing.com, this is a slur. This is a category that depends very heavily on transparency, integrity, and ethical behavior. Housing.com needs to correct its imagery on this count. And it needs to do it fast, as in eSpace, damage is done fast and quick. The good thing is that correction can be attempted quick and fast as well. eSpace can damage you fast, it can correct your reputation fast as well.”..

INVESTORS’ TROUBLES CONTINUE...

On May 13, 2015, Yadav was once again in the news when he allotted his entire personal stake of 5 percent worth Rs. 1.5 to Rs. 2 billion to the 2,251 employees of Housing.com. Commenting on this move, Yadav said, “I’m just 26 and it is too early in life to get serious about money.”..

THE ROAD AHEAD

Housing.com had plans to make a foray into the international realty market to expand business and was looking at regions like South East Asia and the Middle East. According to Rishabh Gupta, Chief Operating Officer of Housing.com, “We have been looking at various opportunities for spreading our network and the international markets, especially the developing countries, are also looking promising. At present, our focus will be on deeper penetration in Indian markets as the scope here is immense. We are already live in 101 cities and we will like to increase it to more than 150 in the next one year.”..

EXHIBITS

Exhibit I: Shareholding Pattern of Housing.com

Exhibit II: Funds Raised for Housing.com

Exhibit III: Comparison of Online Realty Firms (in Rs. Millions)

Exhibit IV: Housing.com’s New Logo