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.

Start-up stories that VCs and Private Equity players never share with their potential partners – One such ugly true story – Episode 1

It all started in July 2021. One of my investment advisors introduced me to a website and android application called #Bitdroplet #Bitbbns if I wished to systematically invest in crypto and commodities like gold and silver. My advisor also told me that the applications are from a Bangalore-based Buyhatke Internet Private Limited, a startup founded by @Gauravdahake (Gaurav Mahukar Dahake) @atiprashant Prashant Kumar Singh and @sriksm19 Srikanth Sethumadhavan in 2015. (@ are their respective public Twitter handles).

I did some research. Bitdroplet offered a Systematic Purchase Plan (SPP) platform for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Gold, and Silver. One can invest even a small amount of Rs 100 daily, weekly, or monthly in any of these four or all assets.

I also noticed that Directors of the company have released many online advertisements over social media platforms and given interviews in prestigious publications, including @LiveMint promising better returns at lesser risks due to dollar-cost averaging and was even a news sponsor on @NDTV. The idea of experimenting with this platform appealed to me.

It was very clear from the beginning that;

  • Potential investors can choose an asset or assets and decide the investment amount and frequency of investments (daily, weekly or monthly)
  • Investors transfer money from their bank accounts to the Buyhatke bank account.
  • Bitdroplet shall purchase the asset at prices prevailing in the market on the day as per the frequency configured by the investor.
  • Based on market volatility, returns from money invested in these assets could go up and down.
  • And those returns and the remaining balance from the total money transferred by the investor in the buyhatke account shall remain safe and be reflected in an Investor’s ledger.
  • Finally, investors can stop investment and withdraw accrued returns, plus or minus, from their Bitdroplet account.

I was impressed with the concept of systematic investments with small amounts and decided to give it a spin to cut the story short.

I opened an account at Bitdroplet on 27 July 2021 to initiate a Rs 500/- daily investment in all four listed assets: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Gold, and Silver.

Rather than expecting astronomical returns from these small-ticket investments, my main interest was to treat this investment to get first-hand information and analytics on the price movement of these four assets during the present uncertain market scenario.

My daily investments of Rs 500/- in all four assets continued largely uninterrupted until April 2022.

On 3 May 2022, I noticed that on my total investment of Rs 4.42 Lakh so far, cumulative returns had a profit of 0.17%, which is just Rs 750/-. Let’s call it a breakeven point.

That day I decided that it was about time I ended this experiment. I immediately sold both Bitcoin and Ethereum, showing a severe loss. Lucky for me gold and silver were my absolute savior. It was clear that if I sold gold and silver, I’d be breaking even – no profit – no loss other than my time investment in this experiment.

But was I lucky? Read on to know how the story unfolds.

On 4 May 2022, I redeemed both Gold and Silver investments for Rs INR 242670. The Bitdroplet website faithfully reported “successfully redeemed, and the amount will be reflected in your INR account” for both of these assets. The redeemed amount was not reflected in my INR wallet. I waited for a few more days. But nothing was still there in my INR account that I could transfer back to my bank account.

I promptly raised a ticket at Bitdroplet / Bitbns website, attaching the screenshots for successful redemption on both assets and exchanging emails with the company’s support team. Nothing came out. In fact, from 14 May 2022 onwards, the support department completely went silent and stopped responding.

Meanwhile, the Bitdroplet website continued to show Rs INR 242670 as my invested amount. This invested amount grew to INR 243270 on 23 May 2022 because of the favorable price movement in Gold and Silver. But more bad stuff was still waiting to happen.

To my utter shock and surprise 24 May 2022 onwards, nothing on my gold and silver investments or redemption history remained visible on the Bitdroplet application. INR 242670 vanished in cyberspace.

Was it a fraud or a rip-off? Or another “Zillingo” waiting to be exposed. I decided to investigate further.

I contacted one of the Bitbns Directors, @Gaurav Dahake, over LinkedIn on 23 May 2022. Once I replied to Gaurav expressing my shock at his firm’s inability to resolve customers’ redemption issues, he also stopped responding. Gaurav did respond promptly, but to my utter shock and dismay, he put all the blame for the mess on another startup called # Oropocket.

After more than a month of this incident, I have not heard from the founder or his support team that my invested money will be returned to me by a particular date. The story doesn’t end here.

I finally reached out to Oropocket cofounders @TheMohitMadan and @TarushaM over Twitter to hear their side of this messy story. I shared Gaurav’s LinkedIn conversation with them over Twitter. In that conversation, the Bitdroplet founder blamed Oropocket for my issue. Both Orpocket founders never responded after that.


Rather than remaining in contented ignorance with the “blue pill,” like Neo from the movie “The Matrix,” I am choosing to swallow the “red pill” to undergo a potentially unsettling life-changing mission to expose such startups. These companies don’t have robust systems, processes, and technologies to resolve their customers’ issues quickly. And are managed by people who seem to rate pretty low on customer relations, governance, and compliance. Such startups and their managers can only give the Indian startup story a bad name.

I have decided now to become a vigilante and fight through all possible legal and quasi-legal means to recover my money and educate unsuspecting people like me who fall for investing through or in such startups.

Please comment on what you would have done if you also had your “skin in the game” (Rs 4.5 Lakh) in this game called #Bitdroplet #Bitbns.