A week after Google and Twitter backed ShareChat fired close to 600 employees, the company's CEO, Ankush Sachdeva, said in an internal note to the employees that co-founders Farid Ahsan and Bhanu Pratap have stepped down from executive roles at the company. However, they will both continue to hold their place on the board.
The Sharechat management has also informed its stop that it has no plans to immediately hire a CTO and COO to replace the co-founders Bhanu Pratap Singh and Farid Ahsan.
The management at the time of the layoff said that the employees were let go on the basis of their performance. But this led to displeasure among the employees, who questioned the absence of the chief technology officer and the chief operating officer.
According to an in-depth report by Moneycontrol, Bhanu Prata Singh, the CTO, and Ahsan, the COO, have not been actively participating in the company for close to two years. Quoting multiple people close to the company, which also includes previous employees, Moneycontrol claimed a lot has changed for the co-founder and CEO of the company.
While Ahsan moved to Mumbai and is now focusing on his angel investments in startups, Singh has gradually become more distant. Singh had once told employees that the aim in his life is to make Rs 20 crore and then chill, and he and his co-founders have ended up doing better after they sold shares worth approximately Rs 80 crore in a recent funding round, whose numbers the company is yet to reveal.
While in the case of Ahsan, the sources claimed that he lost the appetite to engage in the daily workings of the company after the second wave of COVID, when he lost a family member and took a few months off. After he came back, he could never catch up with the pace. He soon started focusing on his angel investments, which included crypto platform Pillow, web3 creator platform Fanztar, and healthtech startup Curelink.
Sharechat's depleting management
These two roles in a tech startup are critical, and the lack of proper leadership puts a strain on the manager-level employees. Additionally, a string of senior executives started to leave the company. This included the chief commercial officer, Ajit Varghese, the director of product management, Siddharth Mishra, the senior vice president, Gaurav Mishra, the human resources vice president, Sudhir Nair, and so many others.
Interestingly, the middle-management hires were getting salaries close to Rs 1 crore in cash compensation with additional benefits like stock options, but a fresher in the product team was paid Rs 16–17 lakh per annum.
Sharechat's increasing loss
There was also an impact on Sharechat's financial fortunes, as in the financial year 2022, the company's loss increased by two-fold to Rs 2,989 crore and its revenue dipped to Rs 347 crore. One of the reasons for the loss could be the amount the company was investing in lunch coupons that were given to the employees, as the monthly cost came up to nearly Rs 2 crore per month. However, the spending may have come down after the company shut down its gaming platform Jeet and also the recent layoffs.
The report also pointed out that the company had raised $100 million in the Series C funding round at a valuation of over $458 million in September 2018, but it never recorded any revenue from operations in the 2019 financial year.
But the company's bad phase continued as its different investments and apps like Moj did not work for the company. After the Indian government the company, like many others in the industry hired ex TikTok employees in hope that it would help the company better promote and develop the Moj app. But then they had to fire these employees as it did not work in their favour.
The question in the end is whether the company will be able to pull itself out of this slump.
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