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ShopClues unveils ShopClues Surety Program, pushing past tabloid-level controversies

Chief Business Officer Radhika Aggarwal shrugs off allegations of infidelity leveled by co-founder and ex-husband Sandeep in social media posts, as she unveils a new strategy to better connect customers with vendors using a ratings system

Based in Delhi, I track developments both in corporate and economy sectors. In a career spanning since 2003, I track developments pertaining to M&A, PE/VC, startups and healthcare. Prior to joining Forbes, I have had stints with The Economic Times, Businessworld, India Today and Indian Express. I am also a guest faculty at The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (Dhenkenal) where I deliver part-time lectures to young aspiring journalists and teach them the practical side of reporting and editing. And when not working, I love to travel and spend time with my fawn Labrador.

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Shopclues team at the launch of Shopclues Surety Program

At a time when Gurgaon-headquartered ShopClues is mired in controversy regarding a spat between its ousted co-founder Sandeep Aggarwal and his wife Radhika Aggarwal, the ecommerce marketplace launched ShopClues Surety Program to ensure a hassle free shopping experience for its customers.

ShopClues currently connects over 5 lakh merchants to its customers. Through ShopClues Surety, every product will be rated on a set of quality parameters, evaluated and identified through an extensive research by the category experts. In order to make it user-friendly, the platform marks out the rating of the products classified into ‘Best Buy’, ‘Great Buy’, ‘Value Buy’ or ‘Brand Authorised’. This, say senior leaders within the company, will enable customers to make an optimal purchase decision while shopping on the platform.

Speaking at the occasion, Radhika Aggarwal, Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer, ShopClues said: “This move is to give this large unstructured portfolio a structured approach. By accrediting products, we can provide our customers an unparalleled shopping experience.”

Earlier this week, ShopClues made headlines when Sandeep, the single-largest shareholder in the company, in a public post, alleged that his wife Radhika of having an extra-marital affair with Sanjay Sethi the chief executive officer of the firm. Both Radhika and Sethi co-founded Shopclues along with Sandeep in 2011.

Sandeep, who was earlier a Wall Street internet analyst, had to write off his voting rights in 2013 after he was caught in an insider trading case in the US. While he was the original CEO of ShopClues, he had to step down from the position paving the way for Sethi to take over as the CEO in 2013 to take the company forward. However, Sandeep now wants his rights back.

The board recently issued an official statement. “We are proud of the fantastic progress made by the ShopClues team under Radhika and Sanjay’s leadership.  The company’s differentiated business model and capital efficient approach has enabled it to become a market leader and has grown 30 times under this management. It is very disappointing to see an ex-founder, who disassociated from the company for his criminal wrong doings, is now engaged in a personal vendetta on a public forum.  Our goal is to create value for all stakeholders and we remain focused on working closely with Radhika and Sanjay and the management team to continue to scale the company as it captures the massive opportunity which lies ahead of us.”

A host of startups are currently facing an unusual controversy. Arunabh Kumar, founder of The Viral Fever, popularly known as TVF, was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee of the company in an anonymous blog post after which several employees made allegations against the 34-year old promoter. In a separate case, online homestay marketplace Stayzilla founder Yogendra Vasupal was arrested for allegedly defrauding an advertising agency.  However, his arrest gave rise to an outrage across the burgeoning e-commerce ecosystem where several entrepreneurs and investors coming forward demanding his release.

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