I am sure you must not have heard my name earlier and since we have no connection, even remotely, you must be wondering why I am writing to you. First let me introduce you to readers who might not heard about you, though chances of that are slim. So friends, Rahul Yadav is the ex-CEO of housing.com, known for his high-profile exit from the company he founded. Yadav built up quite a rep for his public spats, including with the MD of Sequoia capital, and myriad other controversies.
Coming back to why I am writing to you, I just felt like sharing my views with you, albeit publicly. No vendetta.
To begin with let me address your much-hyped goal of "solving India's housing problem" You trotted out this cliché countless times, but your statement as well as your intent defies reality. So, here's a reality check. India has chronic housing problem, with a shortage of around 19 million dwelling units. The problem you were trying to address was mainly "finding a house" and not "solving the housing problem". Platforms which helped buyers meet sellers and realtors already existed in the form of Magicbricks, 99acres,Indiaproperty etc. Perhaps what differentiated Housing was its different UI (User Interface) or a possible integrated approach. But whatever drawbacks or lacunae existed in the landscape of your industry -- reliability , broker-driven market, discrepancies, inefficiencies in determining price , et al -- Housing had no fresh perspectives or solutions to offer. Rather than talking of scale of global opportunity, if you would have addressed or "solved" India-specific problems in your industry, it would have been easier to muster up some admiration for you.
"You managed to garner plenty of media attention, but that was mostly for your misdemeanours rather than your business achievements."
It's great to have a competitive mindset, but yours is vengeful, pernicious (as borne out by your rude outbursts in public forums). When you're asked about your behaviour, you give it a positive twist. You say you're not diplomatic, you are a straight talker. But to me that is just a cloak for your arrogance. For instance, there's the case of your expletive-littered e-mail row with Shailendra Singh, Managing Director with Sequoia Capital. You ascribed your chagrin at first to the interviewing of an employee of Housing by Sequoia, but later on you revealed that you were bothered by Shailendra having bargained hard for equity stake.
Your arrogance was also apparent in the resignation letter you wrote to your board, telling them that they were not "intellectually capable enough" to warrant any more of your time. You illustrated your superior mental capacities by presenting a little calculation to illustrate the value of your hours. The whole saga was juvenile, puerile and distasteful. A lack of diplomacy is not the same as full-fledged arrogance. I would strongly urge you to learn the art of being humble.
Getting back to your actual achievements or lack thereof, let's talk a bit about marketing, the perennial challenge of brands, promoters and entrepreneurs. How should they make customers aware of and interested in their product? Given your interest in solving India's housing problem, maybe you should have used your grey cells to figure out how to make Housing.com more popular. Without spending even one-tenth of amount that you must have, Redbus.in was able to attract customers through word of mouth. Now that was an effective strategy, unlike spending crores of investor money on an ineffective marketing plan.
Any business, start-up or not, is not only about technology or market potential. It's all about working with people (employees, vendors, media, competitors, investors), it's about managing disagreements. It's atrocious to say or to even think that one can either ignore them or treat them as you have.
Last but not the least, you are known not for solving problems or generating great revenues and profits. You are known for getting investors on board, just as much for you are infamous for your arrogant treatment of them. You managed to garner plenty of media attention, but that was mostly for your misdemeanours rather than your business achievements. In India, there is a kind of hysteria associated with funding and this sometimes goes to the head of the entrepreneur. One who is funded is revered and looked upon almost as a godly figure. However, if one looks at the economics and reality of equity funding, the majority of the entrepreneurs fail regardless of the funds pumped into their ventures. Thus, raising funds alone doesn't qualify you to talk like a business guru. Fund-raising is just one step of the journey, not a destination in itself. It certainly doesn't serve as an attestation to your success or business acumen.
My best wishes for your new venture. I hope you have learnt a lesson from your past, but your Facebook post of 26 July makes me wonder: " All Indian internet companies put together < My next venture... Not to earn money but just to show you guys that it can be done. And that too without sweating much! #GameOn." Unlikely as it seems going by your little teaser, I hope good sense prevails this time around.
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