SoftBank vice-chairman Nikesh Arora has resigned from the boards of Snapdeal, Ola and Housing. According to the people close to the development, Nikesh will now be mentoring these companies. Nikesh had joined the boards of these company at the time when Softbank made investment in them.
Nikesh had sent his resignation to Housing 45 days back and was replaced on the Housing board by Jonathan Bullock as a representative of Softbank, which is the largest investor in the online real estate search company Housing.com. SoftBank owns a 30% stake in Housing after it led a $90 Mn funding round in the company in November last year.
According to filings with the ministry of corporate affairs, Housing CEO Rahul Yadav is managing director and chief operating officer Advitiya Sharma is a full-time director. Whereas, Nikesh Arora who joined board of Housing 6 months back is a director on the board. However, Nexus Partners and Helion Ventures who are also major investors in the company are not on the boards of the company.
“We do not comment on our individual portfolio companies,” said Mitsuhiro Kurano, a SoftBank spokesman. “However, at SoftBank, we believe there are many ways to foster and enrich the companies we invest in, which includes a direct presence on the board as well as mentoring from outside, to help the founders be even more successful.”
Softbank had pumped $627 Mn into online retailing marketplace Snapdeal last year. A Snapdeal spokesperson said, “Nikesh has been a big supporter of Snapdeal and continues to be deeply engaged with the business as a mentor.” Previously, there were also reports that Softbank might increase stake in Snapdeal from roughly 33% to more than 38% by buying shares from at least two of company’s existing investors.
On the other side, Softbank had invested $210 Mn in Ola last year in October, the round also saw Ola’s existing investors participating.
However, both Ola and Housing declined to comment on this development.
Bullock, a graduate of University of Cambridge, was an entrepreneur before he joined Google and eventually became chief of staff at its business arm. He worked with Reuters and British telecom company BskyB. It is confirmed that Bullock will be joining the boards of Ola, however, its not confirmed whether he will be joining in the boards of Ola and Snapdeal or not.