India-based renowned consumer Internet search web portal AskMe has closed its operations thus asking its employees to skip office with no prior notice to its benefactors. Its main revenue generating portal AskMe Bazaar is currently working in an unofficial manner but rejecting all orders from its customers.
The following step to shut down was taken in the midst of severe cash crash from its prime investors Astro Holdings. The sole financial backup restricted from funding hence backing off to continue the deal of providing finance. Essaying the role of principal investor, the firm allegedly exited in an unplanned manner. Stepping back of its main fundraisers, AskMe asked most of its employees to submit resignation especially those within a pay bracket of Rs. 2.5 lakhs per annum to Rs. 6 lakhs per annum. The figures of employees who have resigned have increased to 650 in a time span of past 6 months, so far.
In a recent event, AskMe wrote a letter to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs along with Registrar of Companies asking to provide assurance against its prime exiting investor Astro Holdings under the context of forgery and false accusations. The capitalist firm managed to escape from the country without fulfilling the commitments as well as meeting all liabilities as ascertained.
A few months back, the search engine platform had raised fund amounting $119 billion that is Rs. 800 crores approximately, from key investors Astro who reported during a BSE filing. Along with this, it planned to seek capital help from Alibaba and Baidu amount worth of $200 million in accordance with more of 1 billion USD, hence to revive its e-commerce website AskMe Bazaar.com.
The whole plan of reviving and reestablishing its websites got worse when Astro Holdings, as well as Helion Ventures, denied to backup the company monetarily. Followed up by backing out of Management buyout scheduled this July. An open letter to the investing firm from the company’s employees revealed more details regarding non-funding and making an exit from the country, rest not only the firm.
As many as 4,000 employees, vendors, retail merchants, benefactors are under shock and panic. Creditors, as well as minute investors, have sought bank’s help for justification. The web portal was working with 12000 merchants in over 70 cities which include metro and tier II cities in India. The company explored its various sectors such as AskMe Bazaar next day delivery services, AskMe Pay’s financial technology support AskFin, online furniture store Mebelkart, online grocery store BestAtLowest.com, and much more.
Founded in 2010, AskMe kept a keen focus towards online shopping portals include Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), and so on. At present, it is lacking 98.5% shares held by Astro Holdings with rest of stakes with minority shareholders. Also, CEO of AskMe did not revert e-mail as suspecting to be leaving the country to avoid such situations.