ZopNow co-founder BK Birla ousted from the company; claims foul play

22 Aug, 2013

Bal Krishn Birla, co-founder of ZopNow Retail Pvt Ltd, which runs online hypermarket ZopNow.com, is no longer part of the company. Birla disclosed the news via a blog post, in which he also claimed that he was wrongly ousted from the company.

Birla had co-founded ZopNow along Mukesh Singh in September 2011. Birla was the CTO of Asklaila, prior to setting up ZopNow. He had earlier worked at companies like Amazon, Infosys, Arcot and Potluck Restaurant, and holds a B Tech degree in computer science from IIT Kanpur. While details on what is next for Birla are not available at the moment, he mentioned (in the blog post) that he is currently open to taking up part-time consultancy projects with various companies.

In the blog post, titled 'Goodbye from a Zhopper', Birla mentioned that he is not a quitter and his ousting from the company was indeed a planned move.

"Over the past two years I have been building a brand and company but I guess I have now run out of time now. Led by my dear friend Bhukhri/Bhukesh, I have been asked to step down. A sad day indeed for me, not because I have been ousted from a company I built, but the way it was plotted and planned. I agree I was outsmarted by you dear friend Bhukhri/Bhukesh. Just letting everybody know that I am not a quitter, never a quitter and I have not decided to quit," Birla wrote in the post.

While Birla has chosen to use a pseudo name, it does not take much effort to understand whom is he pointing a finger at (check the other co-founders name and you will understand what we are talking about). He further mentions that the post has been written to clarify all the questions he is going to face in the future, and not for settling any scores.

In the course of the post, Birla mentioned that Bhukesh was extended an offer approximately three months ago to run the company, which he did not take up. Rather, Bhukesh plotted against Birla, involved the investors of the company and ousted him from the company.

"You have no single written communication to me which highlights the issues. All I have is a lack of response to at least 25 company related issues despite 373 reminders written in softest of language. Is it possible for you to give me reasons in a written form? Your vocals have been saying different things at different time."

He also apologised to the team of ZopNow, its 'Bored' (hint Board), adding that as adults, they should have figured out a way to work together.

"Why did you treat me like a criminal dear friend? Agree that you decided to let me go and convinced rest of the 'Bored' on that but that does not mean that you start changing social media accounts, bank accounts and other company things. Do I have a history of stealing money from anywhere? You have gone down an evil path driven by a cocktail of greed (aka ambition), anger, ego and jealousy with a convenient 'company interest' justification in your mind."

Bangalore-based ZopNow sells a varied range of products including groceries, beverages, snacks, health foods, cleaning supplies, electrical equipment, detergents, soaps, shampoos, hair care, dental care, cosmetics, baby products, office stationery and health and wellness products. In July last year, the company had raised an undisclosed amount in its first round of funding from Accel Partners, Qualcomm Ventures and media group Bennett Coleman & Co.

We have also contacted the company for an official response on the matter and to get their version of the story, and will update the story with more details as and when we receive them. So keep track of this space.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)