Monday, 6 July 2015 How an Indian e-commerce firm ran out of cash

Kothandaraman Vaitheeswaran and, among the first e-commerce firms in India, survived the dotcom boom and bust but failed later due to lack of funds.

He had been contemplating it for a while.

After all, there is only so much a man can take.

The office rent was overdue. For three months. Almost Rs.6 lakh. The landlord had run out of patience. So had the 10-month deposit money for the lease. There was money due to suppliers as well—some 50 of them. Almost Rs.60 lakh. The suppliers had waited long enough. And now their pestering calls had taken a slightly demanding turn. Customers were complaining—on social media, review websites and to whoever cared to listen. They had ordered things and paid online, but they had not been delivered.

Suppliers wouldn’t ship incoming orders unless their dues were cleared. But customers didn’t care; they wanted to know why the products hadn’t arrived. They kept calling customer support, the office landline. Relentlessly. And they wanted their money back. But nobody would answer.

Over the last 18 months, almost 95% of the staff at had quit. Taking up whatever assignment came their way, leaving behind a sinking ship where they were tired of delayed salaries, and for some months, no salary at all.

Kothandaraman Vaitheeswaran, the founder and chief executive officer of Indiaplaza, had nowhere to go. Nothing left. Except a modicum of dignity.

Read the story published in on 3rd Jul 2015