“This is a crap product. There is nothing in it. We didn’t want to touch it but Tiger made us buy it. We will have to start from scratch,” Manish Sinha, executive vice president of QuikrHomes, reportedly told a room full of people. He was referring to CommonFloor. The room full of people had section heads from CommonFloor and Quikr.

“It hurt. But we said nothing. We were told this was coming,” says a former employee of CommonFloor, who left to join an e-commerce company and wasn’t allowed to talk to the press. Another former employee, who is currently a mentor at other startups, present in the room confirms this conversation. “It was Manish Sinha after all.”

In an emailed response, Quikr denied this meeting ever took place.

Let’s understand Sinha first. For now, Sinha, a man who never ran a real estate tech business, is the protagonist in the QuikrHomes story. Through him, we can understand what Quikr’s big real estate plans are all about.

Sinha’s claim to fame, which he often repeated in meetings, was that he had sold several Rs 200 crore plots in Delhi and ran a real estate brokerage firm called Favista Real Estate. “These claims were suspect,” says the staffer. “We tried to confirm them but could find no one who could confirm if he ever had made those sales.” The company was almost sold to India Homes for $2.2 million in 2014. The company reportedly asked Housing to acquire it in 2015. But that deal fell through as well.

“The less you ask about Sinha the better. Almost everything will get you into trouble,” says the CEO of a VC-funded company in the real estate sector. Sinha’s accomplishments were likened to Keyser Söze by one former employee. Everyone had heard about them but no one was sure if they were real.

Sinha, former employees say, would get into screaming matches in the office with developers on his vision. “But he never had any background in tech or product. Running a call centre [WNS Global] doesn’t give you any insight into how to develop a product. And he offered no insights either. He was so harsh to the developers that 10 of them almost quit in protest,” says another former employee. But how did Sinha get this job? He was Quikr founder Pranav Chulet’s classmate in IIT as well as IIM. When Chulet needed a hand to run his real estate project, he called his friend.

QuikrHomes runs the way Sinha says it does. He is the top boss. He has the final say.

Manish Sinha, executive vice president, QuikrHomes

As things stand today, Sinha and Chulet have been buying companies, integrating them for a large real estate pursuit.

AUTHOR

Patanjali Pahwa

Patanjali has spent over seven years in journalism. He last worked at Business Standard as Principal Correspondent, where he wrote on startups, e-commerce companies and venture capital. He has worked at an array of institutions, which include Forbes India, Caravan and Outlook Business. He is a Mumbaikar, born and brought up. Patanjali did his BSc in IT from Mumbai University and then got his journalism degree from IIJNM in Bangalore. He is enamoured by Ernest Hemingway and Tom Waits and may try to sneak in references to them in his stories.

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