E-commerce site AskMe shuts down, thousands of employees laid off


New Delhi: In yet another sad chapter in the Indian startup ecosystem, e-commerce site and consumer internet search platform AskMe has shut down and is in the process of laying off its 4000 odd staff. The reason behind the shut down is being stated as severe cash crunch according to a report in a media report.

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AskMe’s e-commerce website is still live, but is not functioning. Sources in the know said that the main reason behind the unexpected closure was sudden exit of its principal investor Astro Holdings. Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan-led Astro Holdings exited AskMe Group in July. Astro Holdings held 97 percent stake. Astro Holdings had a long-drawn battle with minority shareholders. Astro Holdings made its last cash investment of around Rs 150 crore last month.

AskMe has written a letter to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Registrar of Companies (RoC), requesting the government to ensure that Astro Holdings does not exit the country without meeting its liabilities and commitments.

After these adverse developments at AskMe, more than 650 employees had put in papers. All these employees were drawing annual salary packages ranging from Rs 2.5 lakh to 6 lakh. Started as a classified portal in 2010, AskMe.com later launched its online shopping portal Askmebazaar in 2012. The e-Commerce platformfocused on small and medium enterprises. Getit acquired AskMe in 2013.

More than 12,000 merchants across 70 cities have associated with AskMe portal. The company also invested $20 million in online furniture marketplace Mebelkart in August 2015.

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