Kumar Apoorv, CEO of digital media firm ValueFirst Messaging Pvt Ltd, is no longer a part of the company, internal sources confirmed to Techcircle.in. Instead, Vishwadeep Bajaj, the founder and CMD of the company, has taken charge of the day to day operations of the company. Medianama had first reported the development, but according to them, Apoorv had resigned and now would look to start his own venture in the online space.
The buzz doing the rounds was that Apoorv along with his team were actually fired for alleged financial irregularities. Techcircle tried contacting Apoorv a couple of times for clarity on the matter, but his phone was switched off. ValueFirst was also contacted for confirmation, but the company did not respond.
According to a report in The Times of India, a case has been filed against Apoorv involving a fraud of Rs 7 crore. Gagan Chadha, a director of the company has lodged the FIR, citing fraud and criminal breach against Apoorv, his wife, and two directors of way2sms (part of way2online that was acquired by ValueFirst earlier this year).
Also attached with the complaint were Apoorv's bank statements which show that the directors of way2sms company had transferred Rs 7 crore in three instalments to the account of Apoorv, the report quoted a senior police officer.
Apoorv had been with the company for close to four years. He joined ValueFirst in October 2008 as its chief operating officer (COO). Prior to that, he was working with Naukri.com as its VP and national head for mobility, investments and ad sales.
In an exclusive chat with Techcircle.in in July, Apoorv had mentioned that the company was looking to raise another round of funding in the range of $50 million (which would be deployed purely for acquisitions), before going for an IPO of about Rs 3,000-4,000 crore.
Launched in 2003, ValueFirst is backed by Headland Capital Partners, which was formerly known as HSBC Private Equity (Asia) Ltd and New Enterprise Associates (NEA) that invested Rs 70 crore in the company in early 2011.
This company has been on an acquisition spree, with three acquisitions already completed in 2012. The company recently acquired Bangalore-based mobile advertising firm mGinger (run by Gingersoft Media Pvt Ltd) in an all-cash deal, prior to which it had acquired way2online (which owns and operates both way2sms and 160by2) and Indyarocks. Its other acquisitions include mobile VAS firm Cellnext Solutions in October 2009 (in an all-cash deal) and Noida-based Packet Shaper, a telecom software and product development firm. The company had also acquired a majority stake in the social media firm Tagg.in in April 2010 for an undisclosed sum.