IITs blacklist 31 companies for revoking job offers

Firms blacklisted include Zomato, Portea, Cashcare, LeGarde Burnett, Peppertap, LexInnova, Mera Hunar, GPSK and IndusInsight

The companies are blacklisted for a year, IIT-B said in a statement. Photo: HT
The companies are blacklisted for a year, IIT-B said in a statement. Photo: HT

New Delhi: In a strong message to recruiters, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) on Thursday blacklisted 31 companies, including a large number of start-ups, barring them from their campus placements on grounds that they had “played with the careers of students”.

The start-ups, including home healthcare services provider Portea Medical, restaurant search and review website Zomato and online baby clothes and products company Hopscotch, were barred for a year from the IIT placement season.

“We have blacklisted 31 companies for playing with the career of our students,” said Kaustubha Mohanty, coordinator of the All IIT Placement Committee (AIPC). “Collectively, we wanted to send a strong message to the companies, especially the start-ups who come to campus and then dishonour their promise...”

The companies were blacklisted for revoking job offers made in the last placement season; delayed the joining date of recruits from IITs; made offers in the name of one employer when they had actually hired them for an affiliate. Some recruiters were found to be fake.

This is the first time that IITs have come up with a formal list of recruiters they have blacklisted.

After the one-year ban, should the companies wish to attend IIT campus placements, they would have to first write to the AIPC convener and explain why they had dishonoured previous promises, Mohanty said in an email.

“Then they need to come and give a presentation and have a one-to-one discussion with all AIPC members,” said Mohanty, who is a professor at IIT-Guwahati.

In the last placement season, around 140 IIT students were affected by these firms going back on their promise, he said.

The blacklisted companies were identified as Zettata, Nowfloats, ConsultLane, Zimply, Peppertap, Portea Medical, Babajobs, GPSK, Hopscotch, SmartTrak Solar Systems Pvt. Ltd, Crayon Data India Pvt. Ltd, Glow Homes Technologies Pvt. Ltd, Tescra Software Pvt. Ltd (Rockon), Grofers, Tenova India Pvt. Ltd, Verity Knowledge Solutions, Excellence Tech, Stayzilla, Roadrunnr, LexInnova Technologies, LeGarde Burnett Group, Johnson Electric (Japan), Mera Hunar, Fundamental Education, CashCare Technology, Holamed, Indus Insights, Clicklabs, Grabhouse, Medd and Zomato.

Though the AIPC did not give individual details of each of these companies, IIT-Bombay said GPSK, Johnson Electric, Portea, Peppertap and CashCare were blacklisted for revoking job offers. LexInnova and Indus Insights were blacklisted for delaying the joining date of recruits. Mera Hunar “came with a different name and hired students for another start-up”.

LeGarde was blacklisted for both revoking offers and the company was “found fake with no proper office address”, IIT-Bombay said.

In an email response, CashCare Technology founder Vikas Sekhri said the company was surprised to hear that it was put on the blacklist.

“There was an event of miscommunication during our interaction with IIT management and we had resolved it. We are a fast growing fin-tech start-up out of Mumbai and are excited to work with IIT students. If there are any of the IIT students who are still looking, we will be happy to speak to them,” he said.

Dinesh Sharma, founder of ConsultLane, said two students to whom the company made offers could not pass their final exams and sought up to four months’ time to join their jobs after finishing their graduation.

“We were in urgent need of resources and hence hired people from the industry,” he said.

Hyperlocal delivery start-up Peppertap shut its operations in April as the firm and rivals struggled with a funding slowdown. The company continues to run its reverse logistics business. Co-founder Navneet Singh did not respond to a message.

While Portea declined to comment, other companies including LeGarde Burnett Group, LexInnova, Mera Hunar and GPSK did not immediately respond to emails. Johnson Electric and Indus Insights could not be reached for comment.

In late May, IIM-Ahmedabad wrote to Flipkart’s management, rebuking the e-commerce marketplace for postponing the hiring of IIT graduates by six months. Since then, IITs have put together a common front against start-ups.

In the past six months, several start-ups came under the spotlight for delaying or revoking jobs offered to engineering and management graduates.

According to data compiled by New Delhi-based research firm Xeler8.com, more than 40% of the start-ups set up in the past two years have already shut shop. Xeler8 took a sample size of 2,281 start-ups that had initiated operations after June 2014 from across the food-tech, e-commerce, health-tech, robotics and drones, augmented and virtual reality, logistics, online recruitment and business intelligence and analytics sectors.

According to an April report by KPMG and CB Insights, venture capital and private equity firms cut investments in Indian start-ups by almost a quarter on a sequential basis in the three months to March. Investors infused some $1.15 billion into Indian start-ups in the first quarter of this year, down as much as 24% from the December quarter.