As India immersed itself in the festival of colours on Monday, Sandeep Aggarwal was agonised – not because he doesn’t like playing Holi, but because he was away from what was once his family, his wife and his children.
ShopClues founder, Aggarwal (also founder and CEO of used-car marketplace Droom) is going through a bitter separation with Radhika (they share the second name), who is also the co-founder of the company. This might just be the beginning of a fight of who controls ShopClues.
Aggarwal took to Facebook to vent out his frustration, and alleged that his wife was having an illicit affair.
While Aggarwal didn’t take names, reports are rife that the affair is with her “boss”. Sanjay Sethi is the CEO and co-founder of ShopClues.
In conversations over months, Aggarwal has indicated that he is the original founder and brain behind e-commerce firm ShopClues, which is valued at over a billion dollars, and caters to the largely unorganised tier-II, III and IV market.
In multiple Facebook posts (some of them he deleted later) Aggarwal hinted of being short-changed by Radhika and Sethi. In a long Facebook post he bulleted 11 points, two of which said, “… intentionally and deliberately kicking out two other founding team members by collaborating with the current co-founder, (and) calling themselves (Radhika and Sethi) founders now. Changing web history, tempering with Wikipedia and lying in the press, “my co-founder and I founded the company and my husband also joined the company”. These are the lies, gross exaggerations and cheap attempts to mislead the whole world, yourself and generations to come.”
Aggarwal has always maintained that he is the founder of ShopClues, and the divorce might signal the beginning of a battle of control of the e-commerce firm. Soon after Aggarwal put out the post, his public relations team put out a statement: “He lost love of his life, ShopClues, and hardly gets to see kids and that took a toll on his emotions.”
What is worrisome is that though Aggarwal’s involvement in day-to-day operations stopped in 2013, he continues to the largest shareholder in the company. He also claimed in a (deleted) post that Radhika took away his “voting rights”.
In earlier discussions, when things were better between the couple, Aggarwal had said that he had withdrawn from ShopClues because of his insider trading case in the US, in which he had pleaded “not guilty”.
Meanwhile, Aggarwal has reportedly filed a defamation case against the co-founders of ShopClues in the Delhi court.
His Facebook post also hinted that the present co-founders are incapable of running a company that he built. “Stay home mom for six years and prior to that only 18 months as entry level business analyst and straight away getting vice-president’s job from once husband,” he wrote.
In another post Aggarwal wrote, “When people start calling themselves co-founders and start lying about the formation of a company, its history, its vision, and main brain behind it, those people prove themselves how non entrepreneurs they are in their demeanor and that they are at best highly insecure and below average executives who got lucky once.”
ShopClues co-founders did not respond, however, the company’s public relation manager said that she will respond to the HT’s query. Even one of its investors (both in Droom and ShopClues) declined to comment on the developments, and said that it is best in interest of the people concerned to talk.
This might just be the beginning of a long drawn battle of love, hate and control of one of India’s few billion-dollar startups. What is at stake is the image and reputation of ShopClues.