Ambitious Internet real estate portal Housing.com, backed by a glittering clutch of global investors, summarily fired its co-founder and CEO Rahul Yadav on Wednesday, evidently displeased with his attitude and public tantrums that overpowered his talent and technology skills.
The 26-year-old IIT dropout, whose future was being speculated keenly on social media became an anti-hero icon for thr generation of brash entrepreneurs, had publicly described his investors as “intellectually incapable” and then went on to relinquish all his shares in a bid to put his mission ahead of his money.
But it seemed to matter little for investors including Softbank and Sequoia Capital. In all, Housing.com raised $120 million across four institutional rounds. In December, the latest fund-raise values the company at around $250 million (Rs 1,550 crore).
Housing.com, which had entered a crowded field with players like 99acres.com (Info Edge-owned), magicbricks.com (Times Group) and PropTiger (in which Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp holds 25%), said in a statement that Yadav “will no longer be an employee of Housing and be associated with the company in any manner, going forward.
“The Housing Board, unanimously agreed to bring Yadav's tenure to a close, with reference to his behaviour towards investors, ecosystem and the media. The Board believed that his behavior is not befitting of a CEO and is detrimental to the company, known for its innovative approach to product development, market expansion and brand building,” the statement said.
Yadav’s tenure over the last quarter was one of corporate intrigue in the age of social media.
A leaked email revealed that Yadav was playing a characteristically mischievous role as he boasted to staff about being ambiguous with the media. He had also in a Reddit chat asked CEOs of startups such as Zomato and OlaCabs to relinquish their shares, in an act of daring that only spewed controversy.
“Although all startups give ESOPs (employee stock options) to their employees but the problem is it’s not PROPORTIONAL to the value creation. Value is being created at x rate and is being given to the employees at y rate. x not being equal/proportional to y is the real issue. So these two names came up in my mind and I just nominated them,” he had said.
Under Yadav, his startup acquired the easy-to-remember Internet address and splashed newspapers with full-page jacket ads to fly over established players in a bid to target younger home buyers. The portal tried to use technology and aggregation of services to make home buying easier and reliable for home buyers in India’s notoriously uneven real estate market.