Stayzilla case: a murder of personal dignity and respect

15th Mar 2017
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This post is in response to the Medium article published by Yogendra Vasupal (CEO Stayzilla). First and foremost, I strongly condemn the unfair treatment and personal harassment meted out to Yogi and his colleagues.

stayzilla_featured
Yogi Vasupal (centre) flanked by his wife Rupal (left) and Co-founder Sachit.

 

I think it is unfair and some of it is downright disgusting. Here are my reasons:

  1. Granted, Stayzilla owes money to vendors. In his capacity as the CEO, it is Yogi’s responsibility to resolve the matter with due fairness and urgency. But beyond this, I don’t understand exactly how much does he really owe, does he have a track record of defaulting on payments? Is he trying to run away somewhere? As much as I know, until about a few weeks back, Stayzilla was a well-respected company and Yogi has an unblemished professional track record. In a country where thousands of crores are floating around as bad debt and are arm twisting our financial system, we need to treat entrepreneurs from the startup ecosystem with a lot more dignity. I am not asking for any waiver on his debt, nor am I advocating any preferential treatment – but arresting him like a murderer and harassing his family is beyond my imagination.
  2. One of the most depressing parts of the Medium article was the portion that talked about receiving a “voodoo kind of doll” with Yogi’s son’s picture inside. As a parent, I would have died a thousand deaths by now had I received something like this. I can only imagine what Yogi and his family must be going through.
  3. In a country, where our legal system is burdened with an unimaginable volume of cases and several inefficiencies, I can't imagine how the system managed to act with such alacrity that a police official was personally involved much beyond his call of duty, where a court heard the case so late and remanded an immediate arrest. Doesn’t this stink of vendetta?
  4. Finally, at a systemic level, our startup ecosystem is still in a fledgling state. Our government is showcasing this as the future of India, Bengaluru is being compared with the Silicon Valley etc. My point is, this ecosystem will need much nurturing to survive and grow. The government, customers, and investors – all have to ensure that startups and entrepreneurs do not get choked by the colossal corruption and bureaucracy that have been our albatross for several decades.

To conclude, I have significant disconnects with valuation-obsessed business models and startups becoming cash-burning machines (a different discussion), but I am much more against such inhuman treatment and such a blatant attack on someone’s personal dignity and family.

(Note – Views are completely personal and my opinions are based on insights into Stayzilla that I have understood from some highly credible sources whose authenticity I believe is beyond doubt.)

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