Zomato has been blacklisted and barred from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) placements this year. A decision to this effect was taken recently by the All-IITs Placement Committee (AIPC), multiple sources at top engineering colleges privy to the decision said.
At least six IITs Delhi, Bombay, Kharagpur, Madras, Guwahati and Kanpur confirmed the blacklisting. The online restaurant guide, valued at over $1 billion, had a spat with IIT-Delhi over slotting issues in July. Zomato was denied a day one slot as a recruiter as its salary offers (with ESOPs) amounting to a total of Rs 26 lakh was too low. CEO Deepinder Goyal then took to Twitter against his alma mater to vent about the placement scenario.
“No company should take the IIT system for granted,” the placements head at one of the top IITs said. Zomato responded to an email query saying that its spokesperson was travelling. Goyal could not be reached over phone.
Goyal’s Twitter outburst played a large part in the ban, say campus sources. Complaints of Zomato’s highhandedness at other IITs and alleged ego issues also added to the problem.
“Any company which violates the procedural guidelines laid down by the AIPC may be blacklisted,” says Atal Ashutosh Agarwal, Vice-President, Technology Students’ Gymkhana at IIT-Kharagpur. Sometimes, in cases of minor infractions, companies may be let off with a warning; in more serious cases, they are blacklisted. Zomato recently laid off about 10% of its 3,000-strong global workforce.
IIT sources said similar tensions are brewing with other startups too, especially with a few that have scaled up really fast. “There are startups which get very egoistical about getting an early slot,” says Mohak Mehta, former placement manager at IITBombay. In another unrelated incident, an earlier ban on Internet products company Directi may be revoked soon.
Directi was blacklisted last year over issues pertaining to placement interviews at IITKanpur. They have since put forward their defence and agreed to make changes at an AIPC meeting in IIT-Guwahati in end-October. The ban may be revoked, said IIT sources. “Since IIT-Kanpur was the most aggrieved party, the decision to revoke the ban has now been left to them,” said a placements head of another IIT who was present at the meeting.
“The fallout was the outcome of a very unfortunate incident, but we are together trying to make amendments which are in the best interest of the candidates,” Ameya Ayachit, head-talent acquisition, Directi told ET.
Zomato though, IIT sources say, is yet to make its defence or make attempts to have the blacklisting revoked. The final decision, in that case, will rest with IIT-Delhi. Placements across IITs start on December 1.
Both the companies have reached out to other engineering campuses for placements. Directi, for instance, has already made 50-plus offers at NITs, BITS Pilani, BITS Mesra, DTU and IIITs. ( As per published here )