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Housejoy founders quit startup as board streamlines top layer

12 May, 2017

Trouble seems to be brewing at Bangalore-based home services startup Housejoy, with co-founders Arjun Kumar and Sunil Goel reportedly leaving the company following a board decision in November last year.

The board “forced the founders to quit to create a single point of decision-making in the hands of professional CEO Saran Chatterjee,” a Moneycontrol report said citing people it didn’t name.

“The investors did not want a three-headed management,” it quoted a company spokesperson as saying.

Curiously, Kumar and Goel have not made their dissociation from the startup public. Goel’s LinkedIn profile shows he is still with Housejoy while Kumar’s profile doesn’t have any recent updates.

Chatterjee was appointed the company’s chief executive in 2015. Before joining Housejoy, he was vice president of product management at Flipkart and a key part of the e-commerce company’s leadership team for three years. He also worked with technology company Yahoo! for about six years in various roles.

When contacted by VCCircle, Chatterjee declined to comment. Email queries, calls and messages to a company spokesperson did not elicit a response at the time of publishing this report. Kumar and Goel could not be immediately contacted.

However, Kumar confirmed to Moneycontrol that he was no longer part of the company that he co-founded.

Sarvaloka Services On Call Pvt. Ltd, which operates Housejoy, is backed by investors such as Amazon, Matrix Partners, Vertex Ventures, Qualcomm and Ru-Net Technology Partners.

An investor at Qualcomm Ventures did not comment on the report while an investor at Matrix Partners declined comment.

Housejoy reported total revenue of Rs 17.1 crore in FY16, up from Rs 54.43 lakh in the previous year, its annual report filed with the Registrar of Companies shows. Revenue from services stood at Rs 15.02 crore compared with Rs 21 lakh in FY15.

Losses, however, widened to Rs 67.55 crore in FY16 from Rs 3.53 crore in the previous year.

Total costs rose to Rs 84.65 crore in FY16 from Rs 4 crore in FY15. That was mainly because the cost of services increased from Rs 21 lakh to Rs 26 crore while staff costs soared to Rs 23.11 crore from Rs 1.33 crore. Of total expenses, advertising and publicity spend stood at Rs 21 crore, up from Rs 1.12 crore in FY15. The company spent Rs 4 crore on discounts during the fiscal.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Housejoy had raised fresh capital from Brand Capital, the ad-for-equity investment arm of Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (BCCL). Prior to that, it had raised Rs 150 crore ($22.4 million) in Series B funding from a group of investors led by e-commerce giant Amazon.

Housejoy had made two acquisitions in 2016—at-home personal fitness tech startup Orobind Fitness Technologies Pvt. Ltd, and cleaning and laundry startup MyWash Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

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Housejoy founders quit startup as board streamlines top layer

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