Forget the fables.
In real life, there are a chosen few folks who seem to possess the Midas Touch, a magical alchemical power that turns anything that they touch to gold.
One would be hard-pressed to dispute that Bhavin Turakhia has this quality.
Along with his brother Divyank, Bhavin bootstrapped not just one but two startups from inception to unicorn/near-unicorn status.
In 1996, the Turakhia brothers started Directi, a web hosting and solutions company. At that time, they were in their early teens. A few years of meteoric growth later, they became millionaires while still in their teen years. A decade and a bit later, they were billionaires.
In 2014, Endurance International Group bought four Directi brands from Bhavin and Divyank for a sum in excess of $100 million.
Last year, Media.net, an ad-tech startup founded by the brothers, was reportedly sold to a Chinese consortium for a whopping $900 million. At the time of this sale, the company had a top line of over $200 million and was comfortably profitable.
After these two bootstrapped hits, Bhavin Turakhia decided to go for a hattrick. In 2014-15, he floated three new companies—international calling app Ringo, digital payments and meal vouchers business Zeta, and Flock. Of them, the most ambitious one was Flock, a clone of Slack, the popular business collaboration software. Bhavin announced investments totalling $45 million into Flock, with a goal to turn it to a global leader.
Four years later, Flock is reported to be “dying”.
According to a recent press report, Flock is reportedly struggling. Tepid business vitals, layoffs galore, a potential firesale to Dropbox in the offing. To wit, Flock was on the block?
Bhavin was quick to refute the rumour and published a rejoinder post.
According to Bhavin, Flock is “going places, but it’s not for sale”. Scaling and growing, hiring aggressively, no question of a sale. He reiterated his commitment to Flock and announced plans to double down on his investment. Somewhat fittingly, he published this note from Las Vegas, USA. To wit, Flock was flying.
As it often happens, the truth is somewhere in between.
So, how exactly is Flock doing?
A look behind the curtain
The simplest rubric to assess a company’s traction is its financial metrics.
Flock’s Indian entity is a company called Tnet Messaging Private Limited. According to RoC filings, the company had an operational revenue of Rs 55 crore ($7.7 million) for the year ending March 2018 and a profit before tax of Rs 65 lakh ($90,000).
Based on this, one would be tempted to conclude that Flock is in good shape.