STANDING BY

Flipkart’s Sachin Bansal is putting his money (and his mouth) behind Rahul Yadav

Quartz india
Quartz india

Others may call him the bad boy of India’s startup ecosystem, but 26-year-old Rahul Yadav has found an ardent supporter in one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs, Sachin Bansal.

Bansal, who is the co-founder and CEO of Flipkart, has not only invested in Yadav’s new startup but is also standing up for the former CEO of realty portal Housing.com.

Recently, after serial entrepreneur Sumanth Raghavendra called Yadav “a prize idiot” in a post on Medium (that was republished on Quartz on Dec. 17), this is what 34-year-old Bansal had to say on Twitter:

(Quartz has written to Bansal, asking him to elaborate on his tweet. We will update the story if he replies.)

Raghavendra is the founder of Microsoft Outlook plugin Live Inbox and co-founder of InstaColl, a productivity management startup backed by SoftBank’s Bodhi Fund.

In his post, Raghavendra wrote about a startup event in Bengaluru in early December where founders of Flipkart, InMobi and Paytm were present, but the loudest applause and the highest media attention were reserved for Yadav.

“This kid (Yadav) has only two achievements: Running a company that has raised over a hundred million dollars of funding into the ground, and secondly, being abusive and generally disrespectful to all around him. Yet, he was being deified and apotheosized by the media,”

“That’s when it struck me: a prize idiot like Yadav is exactly the kind of startup hero that we in the Indian startup ecosystem deserve.”

Yadav became a household name in the Indian startup ecosystem in March 2015 after an infamous email he wrote to Sequoia Capital’s managing director Shailendra Singh was leaked on the question-and-answer website, Quora. In the email, Yadav accused Singh of trying to poach employees from his Mumbai-based startup using informal and offensive language. “If you don’t stop messing around with me, directly or even indirectly, I will vacate the best of your firm. Also, this mark the beginning of the end of Sequoia Cap in India,” he wrote.

This was followed by a sensational boardroom showdown at Housing.com. While Yadav resigned soon after the email was leaked, he later withdrew his resignation and was finally thrown out of his own company in July.

In September this year, reports of Yadav’s return to entrepreneurship first emerged. According to earlier reports, the IIT-Bombay dropout was setting up a data visualisation firm. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm, had told Quartz that he would be an investor in Yadav’s new company.

However, at an event hosted by Flipkart in Bengaluru earlier this month, Yadav announced that he had started an e-governance company called Intelligent Interfaces, which has raised an undisclosed amount of investment from Bansal and his partner Binny Bansal (not related).

“The startup will be an interface that will be used by government officials. I see very large businesses that can be created in partnerships with government,” Yadav reportedly said. Yadav has also said that he will not raise funds from venture capital investors for this startup.

Expressing his support for Yadav at the same event, Bansal had reportedly said, “He (Yadav) is doing something which is good for the country.”

Incidentally, the Flipkart-Yadav connection is not new. The Bengaluru-based e-commerce company had found mention in the first email that Yadav had written to Sequoia’s Singh. “I’ve been humble to you guys even after inhuman and unethical things that you’ve done with Housing in the past. You did the same inhuman and unethical things with large number of entrepreneurs including Ola, TFS, Flipkart, Dexetra and many more…,” Yadav had written.

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