The tech world was abuzz this morning with reports that Quikr was eyeing a majority stake in real estate portal CommonFloor. An Economic Times article had stated that the deal would be worth Rs. 330 crore, and had been in the works for the last 5 months. The news was gaining steam and being picked up by other publications, until co-founder Vikas Malpani intervened.
In a scathing tweet sent out to ET Retail, Malpani has dismissed the report as incorrect, and even called out the company for misspelling Quikr.
— Vikas Malpani (@vikasmalpani) October 2, 2015
Just last month, there had been reports that Quikr was looking to acquire Housing.com at the peak of its Rahul Yadav saga. Quikr is actively looking to expand beyond its marketplace model, having added several product categories in the last few months.
Malpani’s attack on ET is unusual in its vociferousness. Entrepreneurs usually cozy up the media in a bid to acquire more coverage and eyeballs, and being on the good side of a brand like the Economic Times can work wonders for a startup. But India’s publishing ecosystem has been guilty of jumping the gun on several issues, and several articles have been sheepishly retracted after being dismissed as false by cofounders.
Malpani probably sums it best in his tweet. Startups are the new Bollywood, and along with the glamour, the relentless coverage, and the idolization of its stars, the startup industry is going to have to deal with its share of rumour mills too.
Another CommonFloor cofounder, Sumit Jain, has spoken out against the ET report, but he’s given it a sinister spin.
— Sumit Jain (@sumjain) October 2, 2015
Jain seems to be hinting that report is motivated by business reasons. Economic Times is a part of the Times Group, that owns CommonFloor’s rival in the realty space, Magic Bricks. It may be noted the Rahul Yadav, the erstwhile CEO of Housing, had also accused the Economic Times of running a smear campaign against his company.