Mu Sigma shares buyback – former investor blames influence of Lord Shiva
Mu Sigma is one of the eight ‘unicorns’ (i.e. a billion dollar company) that India has produced. Headquartered in Bangalore, the company is helmed by founder couple Dhiraj Rajaram and Ambiga Dhiraj. Today, Dhiraj is being taken to court for what looks to be his beliefs and devotion to Lord Shiva, among other things.
Patrick G Ryan, one of the early investors in Mu Sigma believes that he was duped by founder Rajaram, who employed ‘deceitful’ tactics to buyback stake from Ryan at far less a value than it could have grown to. Ryan’s private investment firm had invested $ 1.5 million in Mu Sigma in 2006 to pick up 17.5% stake. Rajaram bought back the stake in 2010 for $9.3 million.
In his lawsuit which has been filed in Illinois, Chicago, Ryan alleges that Rajaram hoodwinked him in his pursuit to become a billionaire entrepreneur – and sealed the buyback deal by lying about the growth potentials of Mu Sigma. He also says that Rajaram put pressure on his son, making him believe that they were about to lose their biggest clients, when in fact, they were poised to grow rapidly.
At the heart of this duping and “perverse mindset” as Ryan puts it, is, he believes, Rajaram’s devotion to Lord Shiva, whose core principles advocate ‘destroying or selectively abandoning the past’. To Ryan, it probably seems to make sense – the ardent Shiva disciple decides to cut ties with his past, as his deity advocates. So, was Rajaram following Shiva’s advice, or merely trying to consolidate his hold over his business – like a good entrepreneur would? And if Shiva did indeed want him to buy back his shares, would he really chose to ask him to lie – given he is a God after all? Or maybe he made an exception for his favorite disciple, we’ll never know. Ryan feels cheated at what transpired, and also claims that Rajaram used his support to line up other big backers for Mu Sigma. He now wants his shares back, or their value – with interest. While it is for the courts to decide whether Rajaram was ‘grossly misleading’ when he attempted to buyback stakes from Ryan, it is debatable as to whether the Gods had any influence over this transaction.
Mu Sigma went on to raise $133 million in 2011 from Sequoia and General Atlantic, and has been growing rapidly since – serving over 140 Fortune 500 clients. The company helps its clients harness the power of big data, and make data driven decisions to solve high impact business problems.
The Mu Sigma website talks about the trimurti concept that drives its philosophy, which has inspired the Bramha-Vishnu-Shiva clan work-system in the company. The synergy of the three cosmic forces of creation, preservation and destruction is what the company attempts to reflect in its ecosystem. And in what must have also caught Ryan’s attention, productive destruction is what is equated to transformation.
Given how deeply rooted in religion and faith India is made out to be, it does not come as a big surprise that a non-Indian attributed the thought process behind what he calls a swindle to the Indian system of religious beliefs. Unless his views have changed by now, he must still be fervently hoping Rajaram does not pull the great Indian rope trick and vanish into thin air for good!
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