Blippar CEO Ambarish Mitra has said a Financial Times report that claimed he embellished his achievements is "inaccurate," in an internal memo leaked to Business Insider.
The report claimed to have found inconsistencies in a number of Mitra's public statements about his life, including his involvement with startups, and his education.
In the memo sent to employees, Mitra repeated certain aspects of his life story that have been publicly reported, such as his claim that he ran away from his home city of Dhanbad in India as a teenager and ended up in a slum in Delhi.
He failed to address certain inconsistencies, such as how old he was when he ran away from home. Reports have variously said this happened when he was 14, 15, or 16.
He also said that he won a business competition "with the idea" that led to Womeninfoline, a female-focused website. The Financial Times report couldn't find any evidence of Mitra's involvement with Womeninfoline, or that it was public, and found that it was owned by Mudra Consultants. In the memo, Mitra stated: "In 2000 I handed this over to Mudra consultants who changed the public listed name to MWomeninfoline Ltd." This varies from media interviews where Mitra has given the impression that he took the company public.
And contrary to a TechCrunch report, cited by The Financial Times, Mitra also denied saying that he had founded insurance company Swiftcover. "My Linkedin profile has always communicated that I started as a web strategist and then became the head of innovation at the company," he wrote.
Mitra did not address apparent inconsistencies in his timeline, such as the fact he originally claimed to have been studying in London while also running Womeninfoline in India. He also didn't address a report from The Economic Times in which he is quoted as saying he studied at the London School of Economics. The Financial Times could find no record of him there, and he told the newspaper that the quote was inaccurate.
Nor did he address apparent inconsistencies in the story around Stuck, a social media service which, according to some reports, Mitra founded while at Swiftcover. Others state he built it before Swiftcover and that it failed.
Finally, in the memo, Mitra said that he had cofounded other ventures including "raslila (Swapshop), Skillance, livbud and more".
Business Insider has not yet verified Mitra's involvement with these other ventures. Raslila and Skillance do not appear to have an online presence. A Twitter account for a company called Livbud claims to "bring you interesting articles for your daily digest", but its website results in an error message.
Here's the full memo sent to Blippar staff on Friday:
"Recent media coverage has included several inaccurate statements about my life and professional career, which I want to address.
- I ran away from home in Delhi as a teenager in 1997 and lived in a slum. I won a business competition with the idea that started womeninfoline in 1998. In 2000 I handed this over to Mudra consultants who changed the public listed name to MWomeninfoline Ltd.
- I have never stated that I founded Swiftcover. My Linkedin profile has always communicated that I started as a web strategist and then became the head of innovation at the company.
-Before Blippar, I was a co-founder of other start-ups and projects - including raslila (Swapshop), Skillance, livbud and more. My co-founders and I funded these ventures with our own money."
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