Exclusive: Top level exits at Naspers backed online marketplace Tradus. Warning bells?

At least three top executives, including Krishna Motukuri, the managing director of online Marketplace Tradus have quit the company sending a clear signal that all is not well at the online marketplace backed by South African media conglomerate Naspers.

Besides Motukuri, Sanjay Suri the vice president of Engineering and Sandeep Srinivasa, the director of engineering have quit from the Gurgaon based marketplace nearly a month ago, said two sources on condition of anonymity. Tradus

This is the second major restructuring at Tradus in less than two years. In September last year, Rahul Sethi who was president of Tradus left the company with Suneet Manchanda (VP and Business Head) to launch female focused marketplace LadyBlush.

Ashish Kashyap who heads MIH India- the Indian entity of Naspers’ electronic media arm MIH Holdings is looking after the operations these days, sources said. We have written to them for official word. Tradus and MIH officials were not available for comment at the time of writing.

Currently, the LinkedIn profile of Motukuri and Suri suggest that they are still with Tradus, however Srinivasa’s profile says that he is vice president of engineering at PropTiger. Motukuri’s name also seems to have been removed from the team page of Tradus.

In India, Naspers has invested in a few companies including Tradus through the ibibo Group, which is a joint venture between Naspers and China’s Tencent. Naspers holds a large stake in Tencent too.

Naspers had launched Tradus.in in India in 2009 to expand the operations of its eCommerce company Tradus which it had acquired in 2007 for over $1.9 billion.

The ibibo Group lists online payments company PayU.in, auto classifieds company Gaadi.com and travel portal Goibibo.com in their portfolio of companies.

Naspers had become investor in Flipkart, the poster boy of India’s e-commerce story in August. The South Africa based media group along with Tiger Global invested $150 million in Flipkart.

Is Flipkarts ‘rumored’ marketplace launch turning on the heat?

In September, Venus Kalra, one of the member of NextBigCommunity had revealed Flipkart’s intention to launch marketplace on the lines of eBay and Tradus. Later reports strongly hinted at a marketplace launch by Flipkart, though official word is yet to arrive.

The big question is, what’s going on behind the curtains? Is there a likelihood Fllipkart forcing its investor to rethink its strategy with respect to Tradus? Or is there a consolidation in the offing? One industry watcher said that a Letsbuy- Flipkart style consolidation is “highly unlikely” since there aren’t many synergies between the two companies.

What’s your take?