In the words of American writer Saul Alinsky who had some amusing views on the controversy points out that “The first rule of change is controversy as change means movement, movement translates to friction, friction causes heat, and heat incontrovertibly means controversy”. This is literally true in the context of the Indian startup ecosystem which was abuzz with controversies in the bygone year of 2017.
( Photo Credit: Grant Thornton Startups Report )
The success story of our start-up ecosystem has been awe-inspiring as it has already evolved into the third largest ecosystem in the world despite being practically non-existent until a few years ago. India has been, by and large, a home to more than 5000 tech startups by the end of 2017 and this figure can easily be outnumbered to 10,500 within the next three years. Since its inception, the Indian startup system despite seeing the rise has also observed untimely fall of hundreds of promising startups. This also means the ecosystem witnessed reputations being shattered into smithereens with personal and professional lives getting entangled and resulting in antagonism one day eventually. At times, it even took shape of major legal battles.
A synopsis of some top controversies in 2017
However, in hindsight, it has been observed that controversies play a major role in future shaping the startup ecosystem despite providing no respite from disastrous endings and downfalls. A quick trip down the memory lane of 2017 will help analyze some of the biggest and impactful controversies that rocked the Indian startup ecosystem last year.
- The Stayzilla – Jigsaw Fiasco was one such startup money swindling fiascos where the former’s co-founder and CEO Yogendra Vasupal was accused of money fraud and cheating by Aditya of Jigsaw Solution who claimed to have proof of how the Stayzilla founders were siphoning money into their personal accounts from the Jigsaw’s company accounts. With as many law-breaking twists and turns that later followed the entire episode, it finally ended up with how Yogi was in Jail for 25 days and then finally issued bail on April 11, 2017, by the Madras High Court on condition that he would have to deposit nearly INR 40 lakhs with the court.
( Image courtesy – YouTube.com )
- The year of 2017 had been an awful year for Snapdeal. It is to anyone’s guess, quite the biggest newsmaker in the Indian startup ecosystem in 2017 when speculations about the most awaited Flipkart-Snapdeal merger first came to surface in March 2017 at the time SoftBank was seeking out buyers but notwithstanding it fell through in spite of continued efforts by SoftBank. The merger was finally renounced amidst shareholder uncertainty.
- The feud between Snapdeal’s parent Jasper Infotech and Quickdel Logistics which is the owner of e-commerce logistics company Gojavas started in this year on June 23 when Snapdeal filed an FIR against Gojavas with the Delhi Police’s Economic Offenses Wing. As per the complaint in 2014 which was filed on charges of cheating, forgery, conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and criminal misappropriation of valuable securities along with defrauding Jasper Infotech to the tune of crores of rupees, the promoters of Quickdel had rendered its services to Snapdeal.
- Taking the cake as one of the topmost controversies in the Indian startup ecosystem in last year was the spat that broke down between Swiggy and its former employees have ironically spanned only 2 days. An anonymous blog post with the title “Swiggy, A House Of Cards” was published in Tumblr towards the end of July marks the start of a rumpus that is unwilling to leave Swiggy’s shadow to this day. The four anonymous bloggers who claimed to have worked previously for the online food delivery startup wrote in great detail about the business practices adopted by Swiggy by alleging how the company was deceiving its restaurant partners by hiking commissions at warp speed along with infringing upon contractual obligations and promises made to partners. They also accused the Indian startup of cheating online visitors by pulling down genuine reviews by other users and planting its own good reviews on social media as well.
( The Tumblr blog professing on how Swiggy cheats its restaurant partners – Dailyhunt.com )