As India entered the second day of 21-day lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus, Shantanu Deshpande, Co-Founder and CEO of a Delhi based startup Bombay Shaving Company hit out at other founders and CEOs in a Facebook post and said that most of them think that their product comes under the category of "essential commodity" while it may not be the case.
Collectively calling the CEOs and founders "irritating breed", he added, "No, your product is most likely NOT an essential. Just because you are attached to what you sell doesn’t make it essential. Your passion for valuation and the top line doesn't mean you can hound govt authorities and lobby to get your business a permit."
And "most importantly", he said, "Stop acting heroic and victimised by sharing how your delivery boys are getting beaten up. ‘Oh look what happened when we tried to deliver to our customers who needed my buttock cream urgently in this difficult hour. Boohoo’. Your sitting in your house and forcing your delivery folks to operate is irresponsible cowardice, not heroic business ethic."
There have been various reports of E-commerce retailers not being able to reach their customers amid the lockdown as according to them the local authorities did not allow their delivery boys to deliver the products. However, under the MHA guidelines, delivery of essential commodities like medicines, groceries, pet supplies, etc through E-commerce has been exempted.
Deshpande further said, "We’re in a national crisis. Stop selling if you know people don’t need it in 2 weeks. Keep a limited supply chain open so brands like Amul, Mother Dairy, Britannia, Big Basket, Dettol, PharmEasy etc and vegetable/foodgrain distributors have flexibility and access - to limited vehicles, delivery folks, distributor finance, storage etc."
He asked the CEOs and founders to "show leadership" as it is the "ideal time" to show it. He added, "Yes, this will be time for some serious business stress and unimaginable hard decisions. But our country comes first. My wishes are with you and your people."
While concluding his argument, the entrepreneur said that his brand "Bombay Shaving Co" does not come under an essential commodity and "non-essential" till the time the lockdown is imposed. "Our warehouses are closed. If anyone does need anything urgently (doubt it but I’ll have a serious ego massage if u do) - ping," he said.