dealshare: Dealshare founder, president of retail business in race for CEO post

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Dealshare founder Sourjyendu Medda and president of its retail business Kamaldeep Singh are vying for the chief executive’s post at the hyperlocal ecommerce unicorn, amid a major restructuring led by investors, said people in the know.

Medda is among the two remaining founders at the Tiger Global and Alpha Wave-backed firm, after Vineet Rao and Sankar Bora moved on, as reported first by ET on Friday.

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Singh joined Dealshare in December 2022 from Big Bazaar, where he was CEO. He is being seen as a top contender as he was hired to streamline the retail business and work closely with the founders, said the people cited. Rajesh Purohit, formerly of Spar Hypermarkets India, was also hired as senior vice-president of retail for Dealshare.

“There is a review going on since Rao stepped down as the CEO. Singh and Medda are the two candidates from the existing management. But the (proceedings) are being run by (a) third-party firm to follow due process,” a person briefed on the matter said.

An email to Dealshare did not elicit a response till time of Press.

Tale of woeETtech

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The retail division is Dealshare’s mainstay after it had to shut its business-to-business (B2B) trading vertical following a review by investors.

Singh remains a key executive, considering the startup’s omnichannel ambitions. The ecommerce startup experimented with small offline shops in Jaipur but has not yet expanded on it, even as it must develop a sustainable model, based on the outlets’ size and sales, those aware of the plans said.

“This is a growing trend among many ecommerce businesses. Investors have directly told companies to shut B2B verticals,” said a top venture capital investor aware of the matter. “It’s because of multiple reasons, including revenue recognition and thin margins.”

Dealshare fired 130 employees because of the rejig and now has around 500 left on company rolls. In a previous phase of layoffs in January, it fired at least 100.

Top shareholders in DealshareETtech

For Bora and Rao to leave the firm after being left with no operational role is an indication of the new management structure being instituted at the company, which has moved its non-technology functions to Gurgaon.

People cited said that while senior executives had been reporting to both Rao and Medda, no new structure has been announced since Rao’s departure.

“These processes (hiring a new CEO) take four to six months typically. The board wants to get this closed first and (then) prepare for the next phase of the company’s journey,” one of the people mentioned above said.

Dealshare’s seven-strong board seats Medda, Rao and Bora, along with representatives from four investors — WestBridge Capital, Alpha Wave, Matrix Partners and Tiger Global.

ET reported on November 24 that Rao holds an 11.7% stake in the firm, as of March 2022. Bora owns about 3.2% and Medda has 7.3%, data from Tracxn showed. Rajat Shikhar, the fourth founder, does not have a holding. WestBridge Capital has 18.1%, while Alpha Wave has close to 16%. Tiger Global and Matrix Partners own 11.8% and 7.7%, respectively.

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