AskMe, the consumer internet search platform has shut down its operations because of the unplanned exit of its principal investor, Astro Holdings. With the shutdown, AskMe will lay off its 4000 employees.
AskMe which started as a classified portal in 2010 launched its online shopping portal Askmebazaar in 2012. Later in 2013, AskMe got acquired by Getit.
The company also entered into the fin-tech space with AskMePay’s AskMeFin.
AskMe had been facing troubles since the start of the year when its primary investor, Malaysia-based Astro Holdings defaulted on payments to sellers, own employees, and other dues.
AskMe Group CMO, Manav Sethi talked about a possible buyout earlier, “Astro is pulling out of all business and its investments in India because of the political and legal issues. AskMe Group has made a management buyout bid and leadership team is working towards taking over the company.” However, this failed to see the light of the day because of Astro.
Recently, AskMe saw resignations from more than 650 employees who were in the annual salary bracket of INR 2.5 lakh-INR 6 lakh.
To date, Astro has pumped in $119 Mn (INR 800 Cr) in the company according to filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. It was also in discussions with Alibaba and Baidu to raise $200 Mn this fiscal at $1 Bn valuation, to further revamp AskMeBazaar.
The company also invested $20 million in online furniture marketplace Mebelkart in August 2015.