US DoJ drops charges against Droom founder in insider trading case

Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder & CEO,
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has dropped all charges against Sandeep Aggarwal, the founder of Droom, an online marketplace to buy and sell used automobiles, in a 2013 insider trading case.

“This lasted for almost seven years. But I am very grateful that in the end it was the rightful and just call by the DoJ to drop all charges unconditionally,” said Aggarwal.

Aggarwal, who had co-founded online marketplace ShopClues — which was sold to Singapore-based e-commerce platform Qoo10 last year — also settled with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to the same case. 

A civil penalty of $32,500 was levied by SEC, which Aggarwal has paid. The SEC had barred him from working as a security market analyst or as an investment advisor, which will continue.

In 2015, Aggarwal had to step down as chief executive of ShopClues after being charged with insider trading allegations in the US. He was charged by the DoJ and sued by the SEC in July 2013, relating to events that took place in July 2009. He founded Droom in 2014.

Aggarwal was a Wall Street analyst before he co-founded ShopClues with his then wife Radhika in 2011. One of the youngest and most promising unicorns valued at $1 billion and above, ShopClues had its share of controversies — the most public of which was a fallout between its co-founders.

His focus now is on building Droom, and taking it to an initial public offering in the next two years. 

According to Aggarwal, Droom did $1.2 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) in 2019 — an increase of 65 per cent from the year-ago period. 

Droom recorded revenue of $32 million last year and this year expects $2.1 billion in GMV, $63 million in net revenue, followed by a $3 billion GMV and $120 million in net revenue. 

“We plan to get listed on the Nasdaq. Unless we pick new battles, we should be fully profitable by the end of this year,” added Aggarwal. 

Beginning November 2018, Droom launched in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. In the next 18 months, Aggarwal plans to expand to three Southeast Asian countries — Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam and three West Asian countries — the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. 

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