Excerpts from a freewheeling conversation at Reddit, where Rahul Yadav, CEO, Housing.com, as usual, called various people names
Rahul Yadav, the 26-year old chief executive of Housing.com stirred up some fresh controversy Tuesday during an interaction on Reddit
. Yadav answered all kinds of question on his lifestyle, the future of housing.com, about other start-ups, venture capitalists and innovation. Among his gems was trashing Zomato.com, a restaurant listing site, and calling Sequioa a "culturally a very cutthroat VC”.
Here is the select list of questions and Rahul Yadav’s replies:
Q: Why do you claim to have beaten Common Floor and Magicbricks based on site visits and app downloads? Aren't they bullshit metrics?
RY: Yes, I believe these are really bullshit metrics. But the market (brokers, builders, investors, media) somehow cares about all these things. And perception matters. So unfortunately, we have to play by THIS (India) market's rules.
Q: Along with verified photos, can we also have the legal status of an apartment? Cases like Campa Cola where occupancy certificate was not provided by government will not happen if the buyer is aware of it.
RY: On it! We just acquired a legal and due-diligence company; they are working on cross checking all new projects that are on Housing's platform.
Q: What was the deal with Sequoia Capital? Can you tell us what 'other bad things' were you referring to in your email to the VC?
RY: We decided a slided deal between 10-15% (depending on performance) for $1mn. After 2 months of due diligence, when they realised we were running out money, they said they want to do a flat equity deal. I said ‘Okay. Let’s do it at 12.5%. They said 14.75%. When I requested more, they said, “Let’s not waste each others’ time.” We were left with no option. I came to know they have done it with lots of other ventures (TFS, Ola, Dexetra, LetsBuy...) So to cut it short, I think they’re culturally a very cut throat VC and sometimes I think that’s why they’re more successful than others. But I still condemn their practices, because I feel they’re inhuman and for me, people are the ‘why’ for everything I do.
Q: What made you ask Bhavish of Ola and Deepinder of Zomato to allot half of their shares to employees?
R: Success of a venture is a team work. Although all start-ups give ESOPs 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.
Q: What is your opinion about Deepinder Goyal and Zomato?
R: A company scanning menus from last 7 years and doing no innovation. And the CEO says 'Aww. So cute.'
Q: Is the Zomato CEO really a d-bag?
R: I really do not know him much but his sense of humour sucks.
Q: There was a discussion on this sub-Reddit few days back, "Yay or Nay? India's [r]eal estate boom is a bubble ready to burst." what are your thoughts on this.
R: I do see a price correction but in long term I'm very bullish about the market given that Indian economy is soon going to be one of the world's largest and we have a huge population base with a large number of people require Housing.
Q: Do you think your actions are distracting for your employees?
R: Yes, it is distracting. But it's actually fun if it's there only for a few weeks. Beyond that, it is really distracting and does not help.
Q: Indian start-ups/companies are always stereotyped as having bad security practices. I have read about Ola and Freecharge on this subject. So what do you say about this?
R: Indian companies are built in hurry to capture the market. So some critical pieces are often missed out.
Q: Don't you feel that your efforts should be more concrete in building an image that is fitting of a CEO of a growing organization instead of indulging in unnecessary shenanigans?
R: I think whatever issues I have raised are very important for the Indian start-up ecosystem. The way boundaries between emails and chats are fading, I see professional diplomacy and frank conversations merging together. That's the future of conversation: quick and efficient.
Q: Do you think start-ups in India are currently overvalued? Do you think it is indicative of a bubble? How long do you see these valuations lasting?
R: Indian market is an elephant. It is going to run/grow slowly. People/companies with patience over a period of 5-10 years will be able to leverage the opportunity. Companies, which will survive in this period, for them the current valuations, are nothing, given the opportunity size.
Q: Just wanted to know your opinion on Myntra going app only and shutting down their website. Do you think it’s a wise decision and why? Would you recommend new start-ups to focus more on their site or app?
R: Key people's focus in the company is very important, so it’s great that they have decided to go app only. Thumbs up for their bold decision!
Q: What are the 3 most important things that contribute towards a start-ups’ success in the Indian start up ecosystem?
R: I think currently it is 1.Validated and copied idea from another market 2.Capital and 3.Marketing
What I think it should actually be: 1.Solving Indian people's problem 2. Great product and innovation. 3.Great teams and culture.
Q: You have mentioned that there are very few Indian start-ups that have your respect. Which are a few of these? In another comment, you mentioned that you detest how most start-ups are validated and copied ideas. Isn't Flipkart one too?
R: Flipkart, for maintaining relative quality (in product, service and culture). They have earned respect in terms of implementation and execution and not because of the idea.
Q: How do you justify your statement, "it's too early in life to get serious about money etc." when you own a Porsche Cayenne?
R: I 'want' to buy and media made it 'bought'. I use a rented car.
Q: Do you think it is required to be mean to make a start-up successful? If yes please share an instance you got mean for your start-up.
R: There are no rules! I play by the situation.
Q: If you are here to solve problem then why you wanted to quit before solving it.
R: It was just a well calculated tactical move.