The boss behind a now-defunct taxi app spent money with ‘reckless abandon’ in the months before his firm collapsed, leaving 200 staff members without jobs.
Daniel Ishag this year launched the app Karhoo, which aimed to become a leading industry giant and save the licensed cab trade from being killed off by its great rival Uber.
However last month the London-based firm ran out of money and collapsed with debts thought to total around £22m, telling staff they would not receive their salary for the month – four days before payday.
It has emerged in the months leading up to the firm’s demise, the 42-year-old went on extravagant sprees, spending £1,000 in hair salons over three months, and almost £5,000 on vets’ bills for his pet pug.
Daniel Ishag this year launched the app Karhoo, which aimed to become a leading industry giant. He went on extravagant spending sprees before the firm collapsed
He also splashed out on first-class flights, designer shoes and personal grooming, running up bills on company credit cards.
And according to reports, before launching Karhoo, Ishag settled a dispute over unpaid rent on a London flat by agreeing to hand over a rose-gold Girard-Perregaux Swiss luxury wristwatch as security.
Aiming to be a new player in the on-demand transport game, Karhoo was launched in May this year.
It claimed it would revitalize the black cab trade because unlike Uber it did not provide its own drivers but compared prices and proximity of black cabs, minicabs and executive cars.
Founded a year ago, the company had offices in London, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore and Mumbai and hoped to provide a million licensed cabs in cities across the globe by the end of 2016.
However while it was reported Karhoo had £200m of backing from investors, it later emerged he only raised less than £30m.
Aiming to be a new player in the on-demand transport game, Karhoo was launched in May this year
Backers included the former chief of Lloyds Banking Group Eric Daniels and former Sony Music Entertainment boss Nick Gatfield.
But cracks began to appear when a botched promotional campaign reportedly saw thousands of free rides handed out to customers.
On his LinkedIn profile, Ishag describes himself as ‘a serial entrepreneur and savvy connector’.
His profile reads: ‘Restless curiosity and relentless determination has seen Daniel Ishag spearhead a number of hugely successful ventures to date.
‘Dealing in the business of avant-garde ideas that challenge inherent behavior and disrupt the status quo, Daniel’s contagious enthusiasm attracts skilled teams of industry heavyweights and global investors.
‘Daniel’s strength lies in his innate ability to spot opportunity ahead of the curve and manifest possibility into reality.’
Karhoo claimed it would revitalize the black cab trade because unlike Uber it did not provide its own drivers but compared prices and proximity of black cabs, minicabs and executive cars
Workers found out that the company had crumbled four days before Halloween – when they were due to be paid.
They were called to a meeting and informed they would not receive their salary for October, and were left with no pay and no job.
In response to the claims over extravagant spending, Ishago said: ‘Any exceptional non-business expenses were treated as personal expenses which were promptly squared off against salary or reimbursed.’
He said no investor invested a dollar without knowing how much had been raised, and told staff he felt responsible, and apologised to them all. ‘I truly wish things had turned out very differently,’ he added.