It was probably intended as a harmless notice but it came off as a mugshot-style disclaimer with a possible hint of malice. And the tech startup ecosystem reacted accordingly. Thus, it came as no surprise that the leadership at Cars45 did an about-face eventually.
As the dust settled, a few things became clear last September: Etop Ikpe, who co-founded Cars45 and had been CEO since 2016, had quit the company; eleven Cars45 employees, including senior executives, had walked away too; Ikpe and some of the eleven had teamed up on a new play; and someone at Cars45 signed off on plastering those eleven faces all over social media even though the optics seemed unkind.
In an ill-advised, long-deleted post that came across as inappropriate, odd, and unnecessary to observers on Twitter and Instagram, Cars45 sought to distance itself from the departed individuals. But it all seemed like wild road rage.
Such a move was always going to be perceived as strange and hostile, given that it is largely unheard for a company to put out a notice that says: “This person does not work for us anymore” whenever an employee quits - except, of course, there’s some trouble in the picture. So was there any bad blood?