While going public can bring with it lots of rewards — entrepreneurs can turn their paper wealth into real wealth, investors can get their exits, and founders end up being celebrated by the mainstream media — it can come with its own pressures as well.
Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal says that he has to go to work with a smile whenever Zomato’s stock goes down. “Whenever Zomato’s stock price goes down, the first thing I have to do is show up to work the next day. And smile,” Goyal said on a podcast. He added that he did it to keep the morale of his team and employees up. “If I get stressed, everybody else will get stressed. If I’m not stressed, it doesn’t pass on to the rest of the team,” Goyal said.
Goyal says he himself isn’t particularly concerned with the daily movements in the price of Zomato’s stock. “I don’t care much (about price fluctuations in Zomato’s stock). I know the long term will take care of itself,” he says.
But Goyal said he’s had to keep up appearances for the sake of his employees. “The team draws inspiration, courage and stamina from the founder — how they behave, how they smile and how they react. If you react and become a person who’s acting under pressure, the entire team will act as though it’s under pressure. The founder is the highest bar in the organization, and if the founder lowers the bar, the entire organization will lower the bar,” Goyal added.
Goyal would’ve had to spend a lot of time smiling at work last year. In 2022, Zomato’s stock fell from a high of over Rs. 150 per share to nearly Rs. 40 a share. The fall wiped out billions of dollars of investor wealth, and would’ve significantly eroded the value of employees’ ESOPs as well. As such, Deepinder Goyal would’ve had to rally his troops as they saw much of their wealth evaporate before their eyes.
But Zomato’s stock has staged a recovery in the second half of 2023, and now trades at around Rs. 100 per share. Zomato’s stock is still down from the highs of 2022, but has managed to show some strength during the funding winter. And it would appear that Goyal’s positive demeanor — he’s also been publicly saying that he isn’t concerned about Zomato’s stock price — might have also played a part.