Days after Inc42 exclusively reported about multiple vendors filing police reports against the founders of Doodhwala, employees of the Bengaluru-based dairy tech startup have filed a first information report (FIR) over unpaid salaries.
Sources within the company told us that around 20 employees of Doodhwala have filed an FIR, on October 22 at the Ulsoor police station in Bengaluru against founders Ebrahim Akbari and Aakash Agarwal.
The employees Inc42 spoke to alleged that the company owes them around INR 15 Lakh-INR 20 Lakh in unpaid salaries. The employees who have filed the FIR belong to the human resources team, product team, IT team and have alleged that the company hasn’t paid them salaries for the past three months. Employees also reiterated that the company hasn’t made its employee provident fund contributions or income tax payments.
Inc42 has not been able to contact Doodhwala founders Akbari and Agarwal despite several attempts.
We had earlier reported that Doodhwala employees were told about a delay in salaries in May 2019, which continued into June and salaries were finally paid in July.
However, since July, the employees haven’t received any salaries. Some employees were laid off on August 27 with assurances that dues will be cleared soon. Leaked internal emails accessed by Inc42 showed that CEO Akbari promised to pay the salaries and insisted that the company has not been sold to FreshToHome.
In one of the recent email dated November 12, Akbari told employees, “I understand that most/all of you are distressed at the situation that you find yourselves in and some of you have resorted to certain measures because you feel the company or its founders have funds but are not clearing your dues- as explained above, this is not at all the case and it’s hampering our ability to find some solution to the current problem.”
Doodhwala, founded in 2015 by Agarwal and Akbari, is a subscription-based hyperlocal delivery startup that offers users a wide selection of grocery items, including fresh dairy milk, meat, vegetables, fruits and shelf-stable products. The orders were delivered to the user’s doorstep every morning before 7 am.
The startup was operational in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune and claimed to have fulfilled over 400K deliveries in a month till last year. The company has raised $4 Mn from investors such as Omnivore Partners and others.
While it expanded rapidly, the company hasn’t been able to raise fresh funds and had, therefore, several unpaid dues. One vendor earlier told Inc42 that Doodhwala allegedly owes INR 6-7 Cr to around 30-35 vendors, which includes 10 milk delivery vendors and other grocery and logistics vendors.
In October 2019, Doodhwala said that its existing customers can transfer their active subscriptions and wallet balance to the FTHDaily app (FreshToHome).