Trell Legal Notice: Trell has served a legal notice by Creative Web Services regarding unpaid dues

Mumbai: Creatify Web Services, which operates social media and influencer marketing agency Idiotic Media, has slapped a legal notice on Bimal Kartheek Rebba, the co-founder of influencer-led video commerce platform Trell, for dues outstanding amounts of around Rs 47 lakh including Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Idiotic Media also demanded compensation of Rs 5 lakh from Trell for causing mental agony and harassment.

ET reviewed a copy of the legal notice and email the agency and its attorney sent Trell on June 21.

Other recipients of the legal notice include Trell’s Shreya Goel and Siddharth Vasishtha, who oversaw the engagement between the two companies.

“We sent a legal notice on June 21 to Bimal Kartheek Rebba via email for non-payment of our unpaid dues amounting to Rs 47 lakh. Although they have yet to acknowledge receipt of the notice, we will approach the NCLT after July 6,” a spokesperson for Idiotic Media said in a statement. “We strongly believe that the only recourse we have now is to approach the Indian courts and seek justice.”

Trell had previously been questioned by a forensic team from EY India, which was investigating alleged related party transactions, misreporting of company numbers and other financial irregularities, ET reported on March 12.

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ET first reported on June 27 that Trell had not paid its dues to a content creators section in the past 6-7 months.

“Trell has not received any legal notice from the seller. The company has paid more than 90% of all its suppliers, except for a few in the event of a dispute over delivery. These are contractual and confidential discussions…,” a Trell spokesperson said in a statement.

Idiotic Media said it ran influencer marketing campaigns for Trell in December and hired 28 creators to promote Trell Shop, its online marketplace.

Trell promised the agency on Dec. 9 via an email exchange that payment would be processed within 45 days of the campaign ending in December.

ET reviewed a copy of the email exchange between the agency and the company.

According to the legal notice, Trell owes the agency Rs 40.61 lakh for the campaign and GST amounting to Rs 7.31 lakh.

In March, Creatify “attempted to make extensive contact” with Trell and its team regarding non-payment of invoices, but the company avoided its calls, according to the legal notice.

The agency said after repeated attempts, Trell had promised to pay the full amount by April, but no payment had been received so far.

According to the agency, on July 1, Trell co-founder Pulkit Agrawal asked in a text exchange with a senior agency executive for 15 days to return as he was in the process of hiring a financial consultant to help streamline payments.

The legal notice’s term ends on July 6 (the notice was sent on June 21), after which the agency will take further action, he said.

Launched as a lifestyle-focused short video app, Trell rose to prominence when video apps exploded following the banning of Chinese short video app TikTok in 2020.

The agency began working with Trell the same year.

At its core, Trell wanted to build a broad base of content creators who would fuel its video commerce ambitions by selling products on Trell Shop to Tier II and Tier III audiences. The market offers brands such as Lakme, Mamaearth, Maybelline and Wow Skincare.

EY’s forensic team was investigating alleged related party transactions by its founders and other financial irregularities.

In the same month, Trell laid off 300 employees amid growing uncertainty surrounding the business and discussions about halting a funding round. Another 100 employees have since left or been made redundant.

Trell also sold its 10% stake in AppsForBharat to an existing investor, Mirae Asset. The $9-9.5 million side deal also saw Middle Eastern investment fund MSA Novo buy AppsForBharat shares of the influencer-led shopping and video app, reported ET on April 5.

Trell had raised more than $62 million by July last year from Mirae Asset, H&M Group and LB Investments, as well as Sequoia’s Surge startup accelerator program.

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