The most controversial Indian startup founder, Rahul Yadav is all set with his Reddit AMA today. Here we bring to you the latest responses from the Housing CEO.
Question: Do you think investors your back your next startup after all the controversies?
Rahul: I think they will but it really doesn’t matter.
Question: Why did you decide to drop out of IITB in your final year?
Rahul: I think I mentally dropped out of IIT in 2nd year. Physically in my 4th year. And on papers, I think I’m still an IITB student. 🙂
Question: Don’t you feel that your efforts should be more concrete in building an image that is fitting of a CEO of a growing organization instead of indulging in unnecessary shenanigans?
Rahul: I think whatever issues I have raised are very important for the Indian startup ecosystem.
Question: Since when did abusive language become a part of corporate communications?
Rahul: The way boundaries between emails and chats are fading, I see professional diplomacy and frank conversations merging together. That’s the future of conversation: quick and efficient.
Question: With due respect to your achievements, do you think you actions are going to be harmful for young entrepreneurs as VC’s might now believe young indians can’t handle success.
Rahul: I think the market should wait before passing a judgment on whether I am helpful or harmful for the young entrepreneurs.
Question: What are the 3 most important things that contribute towards a startups’ success in the Indian startup ecosystem?
Rahul: I think currently it is:
- Validated and copied idea from another market
What I think it should actually be:
- Solving Indian people’s problem
- Great product and innovation.
- Great teams and culture.
Question: Your opinion on Myntra going app only and shutting down their website. Do you think its a wise decision and why? Would you recommend new startups to focus more on their site or app?
Rahul: Key people’s focus in the company is very important, so its great that they have decided to go app only. Thumbs up for their bold decision.
Question: Is the zomato ceo really a d-bag
Rahul: I really don’t know him much but his sense of humour sucks.
Question: Is it possible to chill out with you in real life? dont know many interesting people so would be cool to hangout with a guy who has a huge start up maybe learn a thing or two(I know you are a busy guy plus I am a pleb or a scrub compared to you but its an AMA so worth a shot to ask)
Rahul: I leave for office at 10am and come back by 10pm. So I really don’t get time to chill out!
Question: Why do you claim to have beaten Common Floor and Magicbricks based on site visits and app downloads? Aren’t they bullshit metrics?
Rahul: Yes we have beaten them in bullshit metrics. But the market (brokers, builders, investors, media) somehow cares about all these things. And perception matters. So unfortunately, we have to play by THIS (India) market’s rules.
Question: Along with verified photos can we also have the legal status of an apartment ? Cases like camapa cola where occupancy certificate was not provided by government will not happen if the buyer is aware of it.
Rahul: On it! We just acquired a legal and due-diligence company, they are working on cross checking all new projects that are on Housing’s platform.
Question: Do you think its required to be mean to make a startup successful? If yes Please share an instance you got mean for your startup?
Rahul: There are no rules! I play by the situation.
Question: What you would be doing, if you have left Housing.com ?
Rahul: Never thought about it. But I love animation and visual effects and wanted to pursue it from Vancouver Film School but couldn’t afford their high fees at the time.
Question: You’ve mentioned that there are very few Indian startups that have your respect. Which are a few of these?
Rahul: Flipkart, for maintaining relative quality (in product, service and culture).
Question: In another comment you mentioned that you detest how most start-ups are validated and copied ideas. Isn’t Flipkart one too?
Rahul: They have earned respect in terms of implementation and execution and not because of the idea.
Question: How do you recruit employees? Does CGPA, board % matter in selections and at work?
Rahul: All teams have their own style of hiring because they have full freedom. My personal hiring style is : I hire smart people ( Smartness can be judged by their past track records or by asking few tricky questions ) and ask them to commit that they will deliver. I really make people commit because everything is simple and if you’re smart & committed, it’s done.
Question: Did you pick yourself as the CEO amongst the 12 co-founders and all others agreed ? Or they unanimously picked you as CEO ?
Rahul: I was the class representative and institute secretary, so things just got carried from there 🙂
Question: How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
Rahul: Life’s purpose is to be happy! So if you are happy, you are successful in life.
Question: Do you think your actions are distracting for your employees?
Rahul: Yes, it is distracting. But it’s actually fun if it’s there only for a few weeks. Beyond that, it’s really distracting and does not help.
Question: Do you think startups in India are currently overvalued? Do you think it is indicative of a bubble? How long do you see these valuations lasting?
Rahul: Indian market is an elephant. It’s gonna run/grow slowly. People/companies with patience over a period of 5-10 years will be able to leverage the opportunity. Companies which will survive in this period, for them the current valuations are nothing, given the opportunity size.
Question: What makes a great product? How do you decide which design element to kick for function. Especially when you’re operating without data? What kind of data metrics are critical to track? How do you profile users’ behavior and demographics without having them sign in to FB or G+?
Rahul: A great product solves a problem in a fun and engaging manner. And all other answers can be derived from this. Other than solving problems in a fun and engaging manner, there are no rules!
Question: What are some startups you are personally following and love what they are doing ?
Rahul: Uber and Twitter, slick products solving big problems.
Question: Can you create even 1% of Housing.com without funding from VC ?
Rahul: I can create 100% of housing but then it will be a different type of housing. You can always create business without money, sometimes it can be slow, sometimes it can be really hard but it’s never impossible.
Question: Do you think that you own the world? your arrogance and attitude shows that you are the only savior left in the world and without you the world of Housing was dying?
Rahul: Even the US market players (zillow, trulia etc) have not really solved the problem. Yes we do think that we are the best bet to solve this problem. Arrogance and attitude comes when people poke and distract us from solving this problem.
Question: Would you ever be a VC? 😉
Rahul: I don’t like money at rest. Putting money to work is very important. And I’ll keep doing so in whatever roles/formats are right at the moment.
Question: What was the deal with Sequoia Capital? For science, Can you tell us what ‘other bad things’ were you referring to in your email to the VC?
Rahul: We decided a slided deal between 10-15% (depending on performance)for 1mn$. After 2 months of due diligence, when they realised we were running out money, they said they want to do a flat equity deal. I said ‘Okay. Let’s do it at 12.5%. They said 14.75%. When I requested more, they said “Let’s not waste each others’ time.” We were left with no option.
I came to know they have done it with lots of other ventures (TFS, Ola, Dexetra, LetsBuy..)
So to cut it short, I think they’re culturally a very cutthroat VC and sometimes I think that’s why they’re more successful than others. But I still condemn their practises because I feel they’re inhuman and for me, people are the ‘why’ for everything I do.
Question: Indica or Sativa?
Rahul: I had to ask my friends around about what it means and they told me these are two strains of marijuana. btw, I’m a big fan of butter milk 🙂
Question: I believe what we are able to see on your website is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more products/services that your team is working on which may help solve a lot of persistent problems in the real estate domain. Out of all the products/services, which one do you see as the actual game changer and which one is likely to be the highest revenue generator ?
Rahul: Rent, pg, short stays, hotels are just the form factors of rental real estate. I see the boundary merging between these in future.
We’re also working on the fundamentally changing on how houses are built (end product), that I feel will change the game in long term.
Question: How about some tips for entrepreneurs on self-promotion, pitching to VCs and the right way to do PR?
Rahul: Be Obsessed about solving the problem, Work hard and Be Optimistic. Surround yourself with great people, rest is just a cake walk. VCs, PR etc will automatically follow if you are doing good.
Question: How is DSL i.e Data Science Lab coming along ? When and where can we see that data making difference ? Apart from heat maps section.
Rahul: A lot of features require a lot of data which we’re still in process of collecting. DSL is a long term bet for Housing, without data you can’t solve the Housing problems. Be patient!
Question: How do you justify your statement, “it’s too early in life to get serious about money etc.” When you own a Porsche Cayenne ?
Rahul: I ‘want’ to buy and media made it ‘bought’. I use a rented car.
Question: What made you ask Bhavish of Ola and Deepinder of Zomato to ask them to allot half of their shares to employees?
Rahul: Success of a venture is a team work. Although all startups give ESOPs to their employees but the problem is it’s not PROPORTIONAL to the value creation. Value is being created at x rate and is being given to the employees at y rate. x not being equal/proportional to y is the real issue. So these two names came up in my mind and I just nominated them.
Question: It is still difficult to get brokerage free houses of your choice. Shouldn’t you be focussing on that instead of fighting small fights?
Rahul: For me, finding a House is a much bigger problem. Brokerage is a 2nd level problem. First we’re focusing on solving the first problem. Once that’s done, we’ll solve the 2nd problem.
Question: Why ‘Look Up’ ?
Rahul: Because when you Look Up you only see people who are ahead of you in terms of greatness and achievements. No matter how much you have achieved in your life, the moment you Look Up, everything gets reset and you find yourself again at level 0.
To Look Up means to always keep chasing the best! To Look Up means to always keep asking ‘What’s next’. To Look Up means getting ready for the action. To Look up means to never settle.