New Delhi: Former BharatPe co-founder and managing director Ashneer Grover on Friday hit out at top VC firm Sequoia Capital India, defending Singapore startup Zilingo’s former CEO, Ankiti Bose, who was sacked over financial irregularities earlier this year.
In a series of tweets, Grover posted a short audio interaction between Ankiti and him, where she can be heard discussing a 220-page report on Singapore-based fashion-tech startup Zilingo and the fraud allegations, which was never made public.
Sequoia Capital India backed both BharatPe and Zilingo.
“Remember @AnkitiB of @Zilingo? She told me of her ‘ordeal’ at hands of @singh_sequoia and 4/7 India partners of @SequoiaIndiaSEA. I told her to complain in writing to @sequoia top bosses. Listen to what happened next. So much for Corp Governance and wearing the moral Halo,a posted Grover, along with the audio clip.
Grover asked what happened to the 220-page report.
“Did @sequoia top bosses hush it up or pursue it as a genuine complaint?What were the 220 pages about ? Why has @AnkitiB been silenced? What’s the status of @Zilingo?” commented Grover who is facing a Rs 88.6 crore fraud case filed in the Delhi High Court by BharatPe.
In March this year, Zilingo suspended 30-year-old CEO Ankiti over complaints about alleged financial irregularities.
The startup had raised more than $300 million from top investors, including Temasek Holdings Pte and Sequoia Capital India.
Following an investigation led by an independent forensics firm, the startup decided to terminate Ankiti’s employment.
On April 11, after her suspension on March 31, Ankiti brought to the board’s attention, for the first time, certain harassment-related issues pertaining to past time periods, which did not include any harassment complaints against investors or their nominees.
A top consulting firm was then appointed to look into the claims of harassment brought to the Board’s notice by Ankiti.
According to Zilingo, the investigation concluded that the company took appropriate action and followed due process to address these complaints that were brought to their notice, “contrary to media reports that have suggested that the suspension and investigations into Ankiti were aimed at suppressing the said harassment claims”.
The company is deeply pained and disappointed to see the manner in which the board, investors and employees have been constantly attacked through ostensibly leaked and fake information,” it had said.
Alarmed at the fraud allegations at some of its portfolio startups, Sequoia Capital India had released a blog post, saying it will continue to respond strongly when it encounters “willful misconduct or fraud”, and take tough action wherever needed.
“These allegations are deeply disturbing. We have always strongly encouraged founders to play the long game. We focus on the enduring, and discourage focussing on vanity metrics. Despite that we find some counter-examples of what we espouse,” the VC firm had said.