Blog: The cacophony of Housing.com

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The cacophony of Housing.com

In this age of college entrepreneurs, was he too young to handle the attention?
The cacophony of Housing.com

The board of Housing.com today formally released co-founder and CEO, Rahul Yadav bringing an end to this widely publicized drama. In a board meeting on Wednesday at Housing.com's headquarters in Mumbai, the company cited his ‘behavior towards investors, partners and the media" as the reasons for his ouster’, calling it detrimental and not befitting a CEO of such an innovation led company.

Rahul Yadav, all of 26 years, had been constantly making news for a variety of reasons - from aggravating investors, to brute force advertising, to law suits with competitors. The undulating sine curve of his popularity has seen some very steep highs and lows, simultaneously pushing his company to widespread scrutiny.

However, a number of people have questioned if he is just too young and inexperienced to handle this kind of attention.

Rahul Yadav has been in the driver’s seat of Housing.com, an online real estate company that was started by a bunch of IIT-Bombay graduates in 2012 and has since managed to raise more than $130 million in capital. Taking a closer look at his controversies in the last few months, Yadav was involved in a social media spat with Shailendra Singh, MD of venture capitalist firm Sequoia India, accusing him of poaching Housing.com's employees in March. Later he was drawn into another controversy when he sent an internal mail to his employees saying that MagicBricks (owned by Times group) was maligning Housing.com while raising funds.

Yadav spent Rs 100 crore on an advertisement blitzkrieg 'Look Up' that was seen by the investors as throwing away millions. On April 30, Yadav tendered his resignation to board members and investors accusing them of not being ‘intellectually capable of any discussion’. He withdrew his resignation on May 5, apologizing for his statement and sending a very casual email to his team, ‘I’m still your CEO. Have fun J’ The investors, however, decided to reconstitute the board with SoftBank taking control in the aftermath of that situation.

Around the middle of May, Yadav surprised many by his alleged magnanimity, when he announced that he's giving away his entire stake in the company - Rs 150-200 crore worth of shares - to the 2,251 employees as a gift. Yadav said he took the step as he is only 26 and ‘it's too early in life to get serious about money etc.’ People saw this development as a publicity stunt by Yadav, something that could cost Housing.com dearly as a decrease in promoter/founder holding reflects negatively on a company's market value. Others stood in awe of Yadav’s bold step, which could act as a retention incentive for the employees. There was another sect who perpetuated that this was a step to move the company away from his influence and leadership.  The latter seems to have been validated by the final resignation and acceptance.

However, this three month drama has brought to the fore the need for coaching this upcoming bracket of very young CEOs, who are high on passion but lack the leadership skills to handle the attention.

Do you think coaching young entrepreneurs can help? If you have any other suggestions please share in the comments and we will do a series II article to put all the suggestions together.

Disclaimer: This is a contributed post. The statements, opinions and data contained are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of People Matters and the editor(s).

Topics: Updates, Corporate, Leadership

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