Zomato’s co-founder Pankaj Chaddah quits, retains 3.11% stake

Pankaj Chaddah

Update: We have updated the headline and article after getting inputs from Pankaj Chaddah.

After 10 years as co-founder of Zomato, Pankaj Chaddah has put in his papers saying that he will take a few months break and start something new.

The development came as a surprise for the startup industry as there was no inkling of Chaddah quitting. He is leaving the Gurugram-based Unicorn in its prosperous period. Recently the Info Edge-backed company raised a staggering $200 million from China e-commerce and investment giant Alibaba’s affiliate Alipay.

Chaddah owns 3.11 per cent stake in the foodtech company. It was valued at $1.1 billion during the latest infusion from Alibaba.

“After 10 yrs, I am moving on from Zomato to try out something new. I’ll continue to play an active role until the end of this month,” Chaddah announced through his Twitter handle on Thursday evening.

Zomato co-founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal on the company’s blog said as of March 31, Chaddah will be moving on from an active role at Zomato to focus on the next chapter in his personal journey.

Zomato concerning exits in recent times

In the last two months, Zomato has been restructuring the top level management. Citing sources an ET report projects that Chaddah’s role had been shifting since 2015 when he was handling the role of COO at the firm, which may be the reason for his exit.

Goyal, however, denied the claims and maintained that Chaddah was “very much a part of Zomato” and performed a “very active role as of now”.

Mukund Kulashekaran has been elevated as the chief business officer from his earlier stint of the global business head of online ordering. Besides, Gaurav Gupta has been appointed as the chief operating officer, elevating him from his earlier role as the global head for advertising sales.

Mohit Kumar, co-founder of hyperlocal delivery firm Runnr which Zomato acquired last year will take the role of online ordering from Kulashekaran at the firm now.

In September, last year, Deepak Gulati, who had joined Zomato as a chief operating officer had also resigned from the online restaurant discovery and food ordering platform in quick time.

Gulati’s appointment was not an investor-led decision. He was brought into the firm by Sequoia Capital, which had in the past helped Zomato with various senior positions.

Zomato: Journey of a Unicorn company

Chaddah, along with Deepinder Goyal started Zomato in 2008, initially calling it foodlet.in, the firm rechristened to foodiebay.com and finally, it became Zomato.

The company claims to have achieved profitability across the 24 countries, where it operates, in September 2017. To take on rival Swiggy, it started a commission-free campaign for about 70 per cent of its restaurant partners.

In the same month, the company acquired hyperlocal logistics startup Runnr in all-stock deal.

Zomato also launched subscription-based memberships such as Zomato Treats and Gold. It currently fulfils delivery for over 3 million orders monthly, and only about 7 per cent of overall orders are being facilitated by Zomato through third-party delivery companies.

The transaction valued Zomato at $800 million while Runnr, which is the merged entity of Roadrunnr and TinyOwl, two of the most well-funded startups of 2015, had an enterprise value of $40 million.

Over the past six months, three different brokerage firms have valued Zomato differently. In January, Morgan Stanley’s research unit had spiked Zomato valuation to $2.5 billion, almost 2.5X from its valuation during last funding round in 2015.

While HSBC Securities and Capital Markets had raised Zomato valuation to $700 million, Japanese brokerage firm Nomura’ India arm had projected its valuation to $1.4 billion by March 2019.

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