Startups Oppose Stayzilla CEO Arrest, Pen Letter to Home Min

Yogendra Vasupal, CEO of Stayzilla was held on Tuesday over charges of defrauding an ad agency of Rs 1.72 crore.

Days after Stayzilla founder and CEO Yogendra Vasupal was arrested for non-payment of dues, the startup world continues to rally behind him.

A group of over 60 founders, and counting, have written to the Home Minister Rajnath Singh opposing the arrest and calling for a free and fair investigation into the dispute.

Demotivating For Budding Entrepreneurs?

In an open letter written to the minister, the founders claimed that locking up Vasupal is a violation of the rights of an entrepreneur.

“The question is not how this will affect entrepreneurship today, but how young Indians looking to become entrepreneurs in the future will give up even before starting up,” the letter states.

Calling the entre fiasco a Bollywood nightmare, founders – including Paytm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal and industry veteran Mohandas Pai – say that this could shake one’s faith when it comes to starting up in India and building a company from scratch.

“As a founder, we already have enough battlefronts, from acquiring customers to funding growth and ensuring the startup doesn't die. You add a disgruntled vendor using position of power and influential network to make you go through hell, and suddenly, it becomes a battle lost,” the founders have written in the letter that has also been marked to the Commerce Minister, Niti Aayog CEO, Tamil Nadu CM, Home secretary and DIPP secretary.

Also Read: Why the Arrest of Stayzilla Co-Founder Vasupal Should Worry Us All

They claim that while the police assured Vasupal that they were aware of all the intimidations from Aditya CS of Jig Saw advertising, things changed when he got to the police station.

He was being pressurised to confess a crime he never committed. And his refusal to confess only made things worse for him.

They raised several questions like “Has Yogi siphoned away money? Was he running away from any enforcement agencies or the debtors? How will he protect his own family when he is locked inside the jail, and those announcing ways to intimidate his wife and kids (on Facebook) are out in the open?”

With the ‘nightmare’ that Vasupal’s family is going through, founders claimed that India will look like the worst place to become an entrepreneur.

“This has already had global repercussions and besmirched India’s reputation in Silicon Valley and elsewhere,” they said.

The entire text of the open letter can be found here.

Also Read: After Stayzilla CEO’s Arrest, Chennai Police Search for Co-Founder