Start-up stories that VCs and Private Equity players never share with their potential partners – Let me tell one such ugly true story involving two Indian startups. – Episode 2

In retrospect, adding an Epilogue in the previous post was not the right idea. More water still had to flow down the polluted startup river called Buyhatke.

On a bright sunny day of 5 June 2022, I informed a Bitbns employee who was an ex-employee at one of my current advisory firms that I’m sick of his Bitbns’ shenanigans and shall be shortly going live on social media with exposure of hardships its customers face because its unethical and bad business practices.

Once I shared the link of my above-said draft blog post, magic happened. My link called me over the phone in the evening and told me that both Gold and Silver were visible in my portfolio. I could, at last, see both assets but both as unsold as on 5 June 2022, contrary to the fact that both had been sold on 4 May 2022. I was told to sell again these assets, which I dutifully did for an amount of redeemable INR 228011/- plus a withdrawable uninvested INR 437.44.

There was a shortfall of INR 15030/- which my contact told me was because of market fluctuation but promised that he would arrange transfer of that also because dysfunctional Bitbns website or wrong business partners (Oropocket) was none of my faults. I redeemed both the assets for INR 228011 and again stopped all SIPs as advised. I was told that it should take 5-7 days for the money to reflect in my account. I thanked my contact. Initiated a waiting period to see INR 228011 in my linked bank account though I had lost all trust and faith in Bitbns, Bitdroplet, and their parent firm Buyhatke.

I got swamped after 6 June 2022, and I kept my fingers crossed and waited for good things to happen. I had to do a lot of last-minute harsh weather planning for my travel plans to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway, for an onward Arctic exploratory cruise to almost touching the North Pole from 11 June 2022 onwards.

I returned to India on 24 June 2022 and was delighted to see an entry dated 17 June 2022 proudly announcing a credit of INR 228011 in my bank account. But still no trace of balance INR 15030/-.

A single INR counts when the money at stake is one’s hard-earned money. The day before yesterday, I made a last-ditch effort to remind my BitBns contact of the promise he made on 6 June to transfer all amount due to me.

I got the following revert on WhatsApp.

“We are trying our best to get some solution around that discrepancy amount between the amount redeemed and the amount credited due to market price change of asset.

At the moment, oro pocket is not taking any accountability of this differential amount and not taking responsibility of non working API for weeks.”

The chase to recover INR 15 k goes on……

A disclosure on why I publicly posted this personal story and named names.

Well, I’m resourceful and rich enough to write off an amount of INR 4 Lakh but think of thousands of small investors who had invested many small amounts out of their hard-earned salaries on this website to invest in safe assets like Gold and Silver or volatile cryptos for that matter.

I had no intention of disclosing all personal details, but the shock, dismay, and mental agony I had to face and the pain of visualizing the plight of small investors compelled me to come out of my cocoon and share this true story. All names, figures and conversations are correct to my knowledge, and records are available.

Do we need more Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes?

Gentlemen and ladies – Make a comment on what you think of this dirty story and what advice you would give to founders and managers of new-age Indian start-ups.