From the Founder of Otonomos: I Did Not Step Down as CEO
Last Friday, the following email went out to all Otonomos employees and investors:
The email is a wilful misrepresentation. I did not step down from Otonomos.
Instead, there was an attempt by the two VCs on my Board, who together hold less than 14% of Otonomos, in collusion with the Company’s CTO, to terminate me as CEO and take control of the business.
The lawfulness of this attempt is now being challenged and there is no need here to enter into the specific reasons why certain Board Members would want to push me out, as this may amount to a public allegation against them.
Rather, the purpose of this post is to assure our clients and employees that I have the support of the other non-Board Member investors, totalling over 85% of Otonomos’ shareholder base.
To them, the above email came as a bolt out of the blue. They recognise that as Founder, I have built Otonomos with the obsessive zeal and single determination only a Founder can bring. Within 18 months of launching our product, Otonomos started to post solid profits month after month. As of last Friday, we were running 3 separate due diligence streams with some of the world’s most recognisable VCs to raise a USD 6 million Series A funding round, and we were in advanced discussions with one of the world’s leading stock exchanges who wanted to take our full A round.
As of today, we have over 500 clients who ordered their companies online from us in Singapore, Hong Kong, the UK, British Virgin Islands and Cayman. Despite the challenges with our blockchain-based stack, every day more clients are starting to do more of their company governance via our online dashboard.
I care deeply for Otonomos in a way only a Founder cares, and it would pain me to see so much effort go to waste. It would pain me to have to disappoint paying clients who rely on us for their company needs; it would pain me with past investors who backed me in the early days and with new investors who are standing ready to back me as the Company’s leader in the next phase of our growth; it would pain me with our loyal employees within Otonomos’ fast growing team, and most of all, it would pain me with my family who unfailingly supported me in our move to Singapore to setup my next venture here.
However, the way my current Board is acting is against the best interest of the Company. If necessary, the forensics of a court procedure will make this plain for everybody to see.
All this should be avoidable if people are willing to step back from the brink. If we cannot see this happen within the next weeks, value will inevitably seep out of our business: clients will desert us, employees will leave and all investors will lose money. We owe it to all of them to resolve the issues in the best interest of the Company.
Meantime, let this be a lesson to all Founders reading this to be careful who they raise money from, and take an extra hard look at the terms of their funding rounds and who controls their Board.
Han, Founder and CEO, Otonomos BCC Pte. Ltd.