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ZebPay's Avinash Shekhar quits as CEO; to launch new startup

ZebPay's Avinash Shekhar quits as CEO; to launch new startup

Shekhar will continue to be ZebPay’s board member and consultant for the long-term. He started working with the cryptocurrency start-up in July 2017 as CFO.

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Indian cryptocurrency start-up ZebPay’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Avinash Shekhar has decided to move on and is expected to work on his own startup. Shekhar’s new startup will be operating in the crypto tax compliance and Web 3.0 space.

Shekhar will continue to be ZebPay’s board member and consultant for the long-term. He started working with the cryptocurrency start-up in July 2017 as CFO.

This development comes a month after ZebPay’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Tarun Jain left the company, reported Moneycontrol quoting sources. It further stated that ZebPay would also hold a minority stake in this new start-up.

According to ZebPay, “Avinash will focus on his start-up later this year, which is in the Web 3.0 space. However, he will continue to stay in an advisory role on ZebPay, as a director. Rahul has always been a part of the decisions at ZebPay and will continue to lead the business, going forward.”

At a time when the cryptocurrency ecosystem in India is grappling with several challenges, some other members of ZebPay’s senior management have also quit, revealed the sources in the know. However, Pagidipati stated that it’s mostly mid-level staff.

Rahul Pagidipati, Chairman of ZebPay, said, “Tarun was getting a CEO level position at his new company. He knew it would be a longer path here, so he moved on. Avinash has been my co-captain at ZebPay helping in turning around the company.”

The uncertainty in the country’s crypto industry comes after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a 30 per cent income tax levy on gains from trading in crypto in her Union Budget speech and a global crash in crypto token valuations.

This began impacting the domestic cryptocurrency industry starting April this year. The industry which was already under pressure faced another blow in the form of a 1 per cent tax deducted at source (TDS) on virtual digital asset transactions in India from July 1.

According to the data from CREBACO Global, nearly 85-90 per cent of trading volumes at top crypto exchanges - WazirX, Zebpay, CoinDCX and Bitbns - were wiped out between January 1 and July 14 this year.

Several crypto start-ups started facing a liquidity crunch, and thus had to take up cost-cutting measures to continue the business. ZebPay too announced company-wide pay cuts, with management taking larger cuts.

Pagidipati stated, “We are doing what we always do. This is just a part of the course, of people coming in and going out. I don’t think there’s any more attrition now than there was six months ago. In this bear market where crypto corrected 90 per cent, some companies get stronger, some die and some become zombie companies.”

“Around the time of the volume crash in July, many companies like Coinbase and Vauld had laid off nearly half of their staff. We didn’t want to do that. So we had to make small pay cuts instead. Most of them got 6 per cent pay-cuts at ZebPay, management took a higher cut,” he further added.

Pagidipati, while explaining the company’s future plans, said, “We are looking at repositioning ZebPay as a cryptocurrency financial advisor, almost like a crypto investing bank. We’ll need regulations for that and I believe that will be in place in three to four years. So, if you are a crypto start-up and need help to raise capital, we can advise you on that.” ZebPay is exploring becoming a financial advisor for cryptocurrency start-ups.

Published on: Sep 24, 2022, 3:24 PM IST
Posted by: Vivek Dubey, Sep 24, 2022, 3:20 PM IST