Urban Ladder hit by flurry of top-level exits
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Bengaluru: Urban Ladder Home Decor Solutions Pvt. Ltd has been hit by a flurry of senior executive departures in the last one month, at a time when the company is struggling with a slowdown in business and transforming itself from an online furniture store into a brand, two people aware of the development said.
Among those who have quit in the last one month are Rushabh Sanghavi, vice-president, category and sourcing, and Nikhil Ramprakash, vice-president, sales and online marketing, both of whom joined Urban Ladder in 2012 in the early days, the people said on condition of anonymity.
Parag Shah, vice-president, fitouts, urban interiors and alliances, and chief marketing officer Sanjay Gupta also resigned in March, the people said.
Shah joined Urban Ladder in January 2015 from Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Co. Ltd, while Gupta came in from Marico Ltd in February 2016.
Last year, chief technology officer Apurva Dalal, Kartikeya Misra, vice-president and head, product and design and Prithvi Raj Tejavath, vice-president, category management and growth, had quit the company.
Dalal moved to Uber India as head of engineering, Misra joined WalmartLabs India as director, product management, while Tejavath founded fin-tech start-up Upwardly.
“Business has slowed down for Urban Ladder over the last 12 months. Sales have remained flat at Rs20-25 crore per month. The slowdown and recent pivot might have prompted these executives to take a call on their future with the company. Essentially, the entire senior management reporting to the founders barring Kaustabh Chakraborty, the operations head, have quit,” the first of the two people said.
An Urban Ladder spokesperson declined to comment on the executive exits as well as plans for finding replacements.
The departures come at a time when the company is exploring offline channels and evolving into a furniture brand from an e-commerce store. Urban Ladder, which has launched a new brand identity, is on course to widen offline distribution channels beyond company-owned centres.
It plans to launch at least three experience centres in Bengaluru, and is exploring partnerships with large format retail stores.
Urban Ladder is also eyeing local furniture stores, where it might take the assisted commerce route through kiosks displaying the Urban Ladder catalogue. It will also explore partnerships with paints and white goods appliances brands among others, which may involve cross-selling, Mint reported on 26 October. The company has listed its products on online marketplaces Amazon and Flipkart Ltd.
Founded in 2012 by Indian Institute of Management Bangalore alumni Ashish Goel and Rajiv Srivatsa, Urban Ladder raised at least $92 million in equity funding from Kalaari Capital, Sequoia Capital, SAIF Partners, Steadview Capital, TR Capital and Tata Sons interim chairman Ratan Tata, and $3 million in venture debt from Trifecta Capital.
It last raised $15 million in February from Kalaari Capital, SAIF Partners, Steadview Capital and Sequoia. In the last round, the value of the company’s shares increased 26.4% from its previous fundraise of $50 million in April 2015, Mint reported on 18 February.
Urban Ladder competes with Goldman Sachs-backed Pepperfry (Trendsutra Platform Services Pvt. Ltd) and Bessemer Venture Partners and Jungle Ventures-backed Livspace (Home Interior Design E-commerce Pvt. Ltd).
Documents available with the registrar of companies (RoC) show that Urban Ladder clocked Rs34.4 crore in revenue from operations in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016 as against Rs13 crore a year earlier, while losses surged to Rs181.3 crore from Rs58.5 crore.
In comparison, Pepperfry, the most well-funded home-grown online furniture start-up with $159 million posted revenue of Rs98 crore in fiscal 2016, a nearly four-fold increase from Rs25 crore a year earlier, while its losses stood at Rs154 crore, as against Rs80 crore in FY15, according to documents available with the RoC.