You have raised a fair amount of capital through your investors. You have glitsy marketing campaign showcasing furnished, full-service apartments in key geographic areas in Bangalore. You have customers paying you lakhs in deposits for lease, even your employees are willing to “pool-in” money into the company to get through tighter times. Why? Good will. Trust. Faith.
So what do you do next?
Well, if 3 IIT Kanpur graduates and cofounders of Bengaluru-based col-iving startup Homigo — Nikunj Bhatija, Jatin Mitruka and Aakash Verma — are to be asked this, you wouldn’t get an answer!
Why, you ask?
Because currently they are on a run along with tenants’ money (in crores), affecting a large number of tenants residing in more than 100 of its leased properties across Bengaluru. In 2015, Homigo had raised over $200,000 in 2015 from angel investors and were extensively covered via BWDisrupt, YourStory etc. Today, with the founders missing, it’s the employees facing the music.
Besides, multiple police complaints been filed against the company’s employees, an FIR has also been filed against three employees. And they are not just facing a backlash from the police and Homigo tenants but have also been left in losses in terms of their personal investments into the company’s fund and backlog salaries.
An employee mentioned about the company’s fund in which a couple of employees had personally invested. He said,
“There are employees who have put in their own money into the company. I have taken two loans to add INR 4.5 lakhs to the company fund while a colleague of mine has invested INR 7 lakhs.”
According to him, there are around four to five senior executives who had put in their personal money into the company in May last year. This was a time when the company was going through a growth phase and was chasing high revenue targets to raise the next round of funding. And this led a couple of employees to make a personal investment into the company.
“The company was in talks to raise around INR 14 Cr – INR 28 Cr ($2 Mn – $4 Mn) funding and we were chasing targets of INR 1 Cr revenue per month from INR 40 Lakhs at the moment. We trusted them (Homigo founders) and all we got is the stab in the back,” he said.
Now, these employees are forced to take another loan, just to survive and manage their expenses. One of the employees even added that between — police FIR, anticipatory bails, loans, and other commitments, he and his colleague have together lost anywhere between INR 10 Lakhs – INR 12 Lakhs.
As alleged by tenants, since the last two months, the Homigo team has not been replying to tenants’ complaints about poor living conditions, shortage of water and electricity and other needed commodities in their apartments. Thus, multiple complaints were filed against the founders and several employees at Bellandur, Mico Layout, HSR Layout and Jeevan Bhima Naga police stations.
More first-hand complaints for current and previous tenants can be found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CnBBGzganQFqYt6iOpdGbzge8w0kG4ch4pF2DdyW-ys/edit?usp=sharing
Latest Update: The Karnataka High Court has rejected the bail application of the founders and there is talks of the case being shifted to the Crime Branch. A section of the victims are trying to reach out to IIT-Kanpur to move a petition against the founders’ degrees. Meanwhile, a few tenents have reported that NesAway is taking over management of certain properties that were left in the lurch by Homigo.