Rahul Yadav Has A Bright Future

You need a certain lack of deference to authority to do well as a tech entrepreneur. I have not read much about Rahul Yadav, but I liked what I did read. And I hope to do read up on it some. He should start another company, and another.



'Isn’t Femina a girls magazine?' Check out Rahul Yadav's first interview after Housing ouster
After promising a '100x' return in a matter of 30 days, the infamous Housing.com's former CEO Rahul Yadav has given his fist interview to none other than Femina while turning away a bunch of other news organisations because 'the oldest and one of the most widely read ‘women's magazine has one purposes — to give readers content they want to know about. ..... Yadav now is planning something even bigger than Housing. But he's working alone, so he's working 24/7. .... He thinks Indians do not know how to work. "Yahan sab dhanda karte hain" ..... Apparently, in the last Housing board meeting which lasted barely five minutes, Yadav was just called and and fired. "Within two minutes my email id was deactivated and I can’t access it since," he tells Femina. Yadav, it appears, is unhappiest about losing access to his email which contained all his contacts and more importantly his diet plan! ......Despite Housing co-founders not supporting Yadav, they are still his friends. No hard feelings, boss. ..... Apart from working on three to four different things, Yadav is busy eating, sleeping and surfing the internet. Even the interview to Femina was given from under the covers.


Timeline: The rise and fall of Rahul Yadav, the bad boy of Indian startups
The most gripping boardroom battle in India’s startup ecosystem is over—and the enfant terrible has been ejected...... After multiple bouts of speculation and much drama, Rahul Yadav—the 26-year-old chief executive officer and co-founder of real-estate portal Housing.com—has been fired from his job. ..... Yadav—who dropped out of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay to start Housing.com—had it coming, some would say. A polarising figure in India’s startup scene, fellow entrepreneurs viewed his brashness and arrogance as “a recipe for disaster.” Others saw a “hint of Steve Jobs” in him. ..... December 2014: Japan’s Softbank invests $90 million (Rs572 crore) in Housing.com. The funds, Housing says, would be used to map over 40 million houses across 300 cities in India. ...... March 2015: Yadav asks Shailendra Singh, managing director at private equity firm Sequoia Capital, to not “mess” with him and his company. Singh had reportedly offered a job to a Housing.com employee, which ticked off Yadav. ...... March 2015: India’s largest media house, the Times Group, sends a legal notice to Housing.com and seeks Rs100 crore ($16 million) in damages from the company. Yadav had reportedly claimed in an email to his employees that the Times Group was out to malign Housing.com. Times Group owns MagicBricks, a real estate search portal and a competitor. ...... May 2015: Yadav quits as the company’s CEO, with this scathing email to investors:
Dear board members and investors,
I don’t think you guys are intellectually capable enough to have any sensible discussion anymore. This is something which I not just believe but can prove on your faces also!
I had calculated long back (by taking avg life expectancy minus avg sleeping hrs) that I only have ~3L (hours) in my life. ~3L hrs are certainly not much to waste with you guys!
Hence resigning from the position of Directorship, Chairmanship and the CEO position of the company. I’m available for the next 7 days to help in the transition. Won’t give more time after that. So please be efficient in this duration.
Cheers,
Rahul
May 2015: Yadav announces that he is giving away his stake in Housing.com to its employees. The shares are estimated to be worth between Rs150 and Rs200 crore ($23.58-31.44 million). “I’m just 26 and it’s too early in life to get serious about money etc,” Yadav explains.
The Rahul Yadav Story You’ve Never Heard Before
Some are calling him a maniac and a loser, and some a genius and a maverick. One thing is certain though: he suffers no such dilemma - in his view he’s the latter. ..... It was the version 2.0 of how classifieds should work. .... Rahul then started talking about the business, the opportunity and what his team and he wanted to create - and I was hooked. The energy was palpable - the teenager-like awkwardness was gone. I committed, then and there, that I would back their endeavour. When we finished I was thinking "Heck! Look at these kids nowadays. I did not have even an iota of their confidence when I graduated some 20 years ago." I admit, I felt every bit my age. ........ It took a few more meetings to close the terms of the deal. He was a hard-as-nails negotiator, supremely confident of the team and himself. Eventually, I enjoyed the negotiation so much that I gave in to what he was asking for. It was clear that this guy was different. He was very sharp - intense, almost. You could sit in a meeting with him for hours and he wouldn't take a sip of water or a bite to eat or a moment to pause. He was more focused than most people one had met. And he dreamt with his eyes open and made you visualise a new future. ....... For the first six months, we would meet regularly. He would come home, usually on Sunday afternoons. He was very shy and quiet and would barely say a "Hi" to the kids who know him as Rahul uncle. We would sit on the terrace for hours and all he would accept is a cup of tea, which would often go cold as we discussed.

One could never persuade him to have a meal with the family

. ......... I would often go by to Housing's Powai office. There he would be a different animal - obsessed with doing more and better. His thinking was ten years ahead of the market. He wanted to do 10X better. Always. And as he raised more funding and engaged with more people, I saw his confidence soar. ...... As the business got funded and grew larger, our meetings became infrequent and were replaced by phone calls. Always late at night - at 11.30pm, just as I would be about to turn into bed, the phone would ring and I knew it was Rahul. He would usually have a new idea or mostly he would be bothered about something - like, how he did not have enough time to dedicate to the business. Or didn't have time or people to handle everything. He would say, "We are growing too fast. I don’t have anyone who can manage the growth." Or his struggles with some of his co-founders. And sometimes for just plain help - how he was running the firm hand-to-mouth because funding was delayed. ........ In June 2013, I wrote a piece in Business Standard that while Housing had a bunch of talented folks, the real test of the business would be the transition it would have to make from an "outfit" to an organisation. I said that the young team would need to induct experienced professional talent who would become the building blocks of a scalable company. ....... I recall a day when we had discussed that the company would take its first baby steps and pilot Pune city, but suddenly two weeks later, I heard that they were launching across 10 cities. With no team, no systems, no experience - the investors had asked them to go for broke. ........ First came the VC funding and then these youngsters were asked to ride a tiger - the team grew from 100-odd to over a 1,000 in a matter of a few months. There was no support system - no financial controls, no infrastructure and processes. Nothing that would normally form the chassis of a company. Just a blind race to grow - to create new categories before the older ones had stabilised. A car with an accelerator but no steering wheel - fuelled by the adrenalin of hundreds of youngsters and millions of dollars of VC money. ........ No one asked them to pause, to review, to reflect. No one asked them to measure, to monitor, to plan. One wonders what the hurry was about. It’s not as if the market was running away. The real-estate market was beginning to evolve - online players were barely 2% or less of the entire ecosystem…and Housing had a brilliant solution. They had built technology that could rival the best in the world. ..... It put him in a corner - he had no mentor in the group, no one he could reach out to. Once his funding round was stuck because he needed a little money to clear up some statutory dues - he ran from pillar to post for days - and for a few nights I had a frustrated Rahul on the phone. No one helped. Eventually I stepped in with a loan which allowed this lockjam between investors who have millions of dollars at their disposal to be cleared. It was painful to see this young boy handling so much. ....... He said, "Sir, the investors have told me not to bother with revenues for the next 10 years. They have said they will support the business and we can build a $10 billion company." ..... But that was not to be - they went on ahead and made a big splash with their campaign, adding more cities….riding a bigger tiger even harder. ...... My last conversation with him was a day before he was asked to go. He said, "I can’t relate to these people and I can’t understand why they can’t see what I see. They can’t see what we can build." That he did not know whether he wanted to stay on and do it anymore. It was the first time I saw his energy low - he was pensive and seemed downbeat. ....... If you are a lone-player with great talent - like a sportsperson or an artist or painter - you are then free to work alone, without regard to what the world thinks of you. You have no responsibility, except to hone your own talent - to become the best in the world, and to strive for excellence. It’s a lonely journey, where you learn to practice hard and live your own failures. After all, no one remembers the third seed at Wimbledon, or the second man on the moon................ But if you’ve chosen to be a manager, you’ve then got to be among people, collaborate with them, lead them or be led by them, be able to handle their frustrations, to handle their competence and their incompetence. It's an ego-crushing journey where you need to learn to allow people their space to work. It has very little to do with intelligence - it is more about developing sensitivity - finding a way to motivate people, to pull them in one direction. A journey of frustration, but equally one of triumph when you see the team working together and winning - a journey you share with your team.......... Finally, I told him that if he chose to be the leader, he would need to eat crow, sit and repair relationships and find a way to move ahead. ..... Work on your culture, people. Work on yourself. You are not here to create an app. You are here to build something that lasts. That can weather any storm and outlast the founders. Only then will you be truly successful in your endeavour. ......... It’s crazy to see over 20 start-ups getting funded to do the same thing. Everybody you meet today is an angel investor - people are spreading their bets - but no one is providing the start-ups "adult supervision", something they sorely need. Start-ups need help to become organisations with culture, with rituals, with codes of conduct and with an operating philosophy. Something that’s taken successful companies years to build. ....... He deserves a second chance. Wouldn’t you want one for yourself? ...... Going beyond Housing, I see a worrying phenomenon across the start-up ecosystem: a mis-alignment, if you will, in the relationship between founders and VCs. .. To understand what I mean, check the level of founder shareholdings across most major start-up firms. It has uniformly come down to anywhere between 15 percent to the low single-digits. ......... We need to learn from our counterparts in the West. Founders there understand passion and raw talent are not enough to build a scalable company. They have the maturity to step aside and work with experienced managers, investors and advisors.
Rahul Yadav: The early years at Housing.com Meet the real Rahul Yadav: I found him ‘rocking it’ in his Mumbai office
Yadav appears casual in his navy blue T-shirt and beige cargos but his office doesn’t look like a “startup office.” It is done up in a sleek white with tinges of bright color in the form of red chairs and green furniture. ...... He pushes all his employees out of his cabin as soon as I enter to greet in the most soft spoken tone. In true Housing style, he picked up his marker to explain the smallest of details and fumbled to find alternative words to IIT Bombay lingo macha rahe hai (meaning “rocking it” in “cool” Hindi). ...... “Players worldwide think that real estate is a local problem and so they haven’t launched overseas operations. We want to change that perception,” said Yadav. “We have set up a dedicated Data Science Lab which sieves through mountains of data to develop indices and metrics that help identify consumer needs. Nobody else has verified photographs of houses on their platform,” he said. ....... “With tools like heat maps, lifestyle rating, locality insights, child friendliness index, demand-supply tool, and so on, we have made the search for homes more fun than a burden,” he explained. “Families can sit together and discuss while taking a peek at the internal and external amenities of a home with a few clicks.” ...... Another step to complete the loop was a housing loans service. ..... This was a day before Housing unveiled its new logo – an arrowhead pointed upward. “It’s a symbol of optimism,” he said. “The sharp outer edges direct towards the future. We are aggressive on growth and aim to be 10 times better in terms of customer experience. However, the curvy edges show that we are soft from the inside.” ...... Housing also revamped its website and app with more colors as it is “a young company with immense vibrancy.” ..... Last year, the company reported a US$8 million loss on revenue of just US$300,000 for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014. “The online real estate industry is at a nascent stage. We are focusing on building a product right now,” explained Yadav, dismissing concerns over the high cash burn rate. ...... In December last year, Housing said that it aims to map over 40 million houses across 300 cities in India. ....... Yet the founder, who is said to own less than 5 percent of Housing, is now reportedly on his way out, even as the company is in talks to be acquired by Quikr for US$120 million at a valuation of US$172 million. That’s a decline from a US$235 million valuation during its last round of funding...... Housing.com is one of the world’s fastest-growing online real estate platforms.


Young, brash, and confident: YourStory’s interview with Rahul Yadav of Housing
In Mumbai for a three day visit, a friend pointed me to Rahul Yadav’s residence in Powai. “Everyone in the startup ecosystem knows this man,” this friend who works at a tech startup tells me. ..... has since managed to raise more than $130 million in capital and has been constantly making news for a variety of reasons- from pissing off investors to brute force advertising to law suits with competitors. Curious about knowing the man behind the company, I wrote an email to him asking for an interview and he agreed for a meeting within 12 hours. ...... This interview was conducted a day before the news of Rahul’s resignation .... Housing ads are everywhere. Everywhere. Billboards, TV, Radio, internet, Housing is pumping every channel with ads. Social media has been abuzz with bewilderment at the amount of money Housing has been spending on advertising. “This is normal. You have to build a brand, people have to know about Housing to see what we’ve built! And this is the second phase. We first built the product and didn’t do any marketing! Now, it’s time for showing the world what we’ve built,” says Rahul with an air of confidence. ...... He’s still peering into his laptop and grimaces at an email he received. He excuses himself to reply and looks a bit disturbed. “Some not so nice things are happening,” he dismisses my probing. ..... There are crores of properties in Mumbai alone and Housing has only about 10% of the available properties online as of now. “People need to stop hating us. We are building a brand and are working very hard to solve a problem which no one has tackled head on. We don’t guarantee that we’ll get you a house. Finding a house is a problem and we’re trying all our best to solve this,” Rahul adds. ........ Fund raising hasn’t been a problem for Housing. “There are so many investors willing to put in money, that has never been a problem,” Rahul tells me the obvious........... Most of it boils down to the entrepreneur’s ability to present a case in which the investors believe. ..... “The private markets are huge and I see this continuing for a few years to come. When people can raise $200 million in private markets, why go for an IPO?” he asks. ...... Rahul agrees that he has a brash attitude. “I’ve always been like this. It was the deans during college and now it is the VCs. It’s just an attitude I have,” he says after some reflection. Indifferent to most of the things, Rahul looks everything from a mathematical lens. Talking of Housing, he pens down a function and says it is all about managing variables. ....... Rahul has a general disregard for humankind. Yes. “While growing up, I observed things and always kept thinking. Why are the trains so dirty? Why is this thing like this? Why are people not working hard? Why are hostels so dirty? Why is everything so broken? Why are people so dumb?” he asks rhetorically. ......... You have to be in the best of the places with best of the people ........ Housing is a 2500 people company at the moment and will soon grow to over 4000..... “It’s all mathematics, look at the bigger picture. I assign everything certain weightage and change it to see the changes,” he says and also confirms that it works. Housing gets more than 11 million visitors on the website per month and has crossed a million app downloads. “We’re clearly ahead of all the competitors on all metrics now,” he talks about competition. MagicBricks recently filed a law suit against Housing but Rahul doesn’t really take it seriously. ........ Rahul is very excited about the scale of the housing problem. He believes that Housing.com can be a much larger company than AirBnB, just looking at the market size. And Housing is just getting started, the team believes they’re just starting to scratch the surface. “We’ve been tackling this problem for a few years and we’ve reached midway. We have gained a lot of insights and have figured out some very basic dynamics on the basis of which we’d be changing the model in the future,” he says. ........ In the relatively short period of its existence, Housing has revolutionized the real estate market in India and it continues to lead and disrupt with world class product innovations.
Rahul Yadav, ex-CEO of Housing.com says, “I will be back”
Being the cynosure of all eyes and touted as India’s answer to Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, Rahul Yadav is rather blasé about the latest developments in the start-up that was his brainchild. Yadav set up Housing.com, which was making waves before a dramatic turn on events after a board meeting got the young former IIT-an fired. ....... a half-asleep Yadav stated how start-ups are far difficult to set up in India than a country like USA. Yadav also chats about how annoying his new-found fame is and that it has played havock with his reticent personality. ...... Known as a media shy person, Yadav shunned interviewers for the last couple of years before the latest turn of events. He quipped that they ask the same questions. Despite being fired from Housing, he remains friends with most of them and remains in contact with them. He revealed that all the content that he was working on was wiped out completely from his system, five minutes after his expulsion. He signed off by stating that he was working on a big project, all alone.

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