Ashneer Grover Success Story- Inspiring Journey of the Former BharatPe Co-Founder and MD

Bharath Bharath
Mar 1, 2022 6 min read
Ashneer Grover Success Story- Inspiring Journey of the Former BharatPe Co-Founder and MD

Ashneer Grover was the Managing Director and Co-founder of BharatPe, until February 28, 2022, when he had to resign and renounce his positions in the company. He co-founded the company along with Shashvat Nakrani in 2018. Within four years, they have turned BharatPe into one of the largest used payment apps in India. Ashneer Grover was also seen in the judging panel of the Shark Tank India reality show. His net worth is around INR 700 crores.

Though Ashneer Grover had a good start in terms of education, career, and business, he also faced multiple challenges in the journey. This article discusses the complete story of Ashneer Grover right from his early life and career to the controversies and challenges faced by him recently.

Ashneer Grover - Biography
Ashneer Grover - Personal Life
Ashneer Grover - Education
Ashneer Grover - Initial Career
Ashneer Grover - Founding BharatPe
Ashneer Grover - Controversies and Challenges Faced

Ashneer Grover - Biography

Name Ashneer Grover
Born 14 June 1982
Birth Place Delhi
Nationality Indian
Age 39 (2021)
Education IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad
Position Ex-Founder and MD, BharatPe
Net Worth Rs 700 crores

Ashneer Grover - Personal Life

Ashneer Grover was born in Delhi on June 14, 1982. His father was a Chartered Accountant and his mother was a teacher. As his parents were into good professions, the family was doing well. He got graduated from well-reputed institutes like IIT and IIM.

Ashneer Grover was married to Madhuri Jain Grover. Sheโ€™s an entrepreneur and owns a furnishing business named Mauve and Brown in Delhi. Ashneer Grover wife, Madhuri Grover had taken care of HR, finance, and other internal operations and has headed the Controls at BharatPe before she was declared to be one of the employees who were involved in financial frauds and was eventually terminated by the Board. The couple has two children.

Ashneer Grover - Education

Ashneer Grover completed his schooling in Delhi. He then graduated B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). During his time in IIT Delhi, he was selected for a student exchange program with the National Institute of Applied Sciences, also known as INSA Lyon, in France. It is one of the largest and finest engineering schools in Europe.

He moved to INSA Lyon in 2002 with a scholarship of โ‚ฌ6,000 from the French Embassy. After graduating from IIT, Grover went to the India Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad for his ย MBA in Finance. He graduated from the IIM in 2006.

Ashneer Grover - Initial Career

Kotak Finance Banking selected Ashneer Grover as the Vice President through campus placements from IIM. He has been a part of Kotak for almost 7 years since 2006.

In mid-2013, Ashneer joined American Express (AmEx), a payment card services company, and worked for two years. He was designated as the Director of Corporate Development in AmEx. After leaving American Express in 2015, Ashneer became the Chief Financial Officer in Grofers. The company is now called Blinkit.

Later in 2017, PC Jeweller took Ashneer as the Head of New Business, where he worked for exactly a year. Then by 2018, Ashneer Grover established his own company BharatPe.


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Ashneer Grover - Founding BharatPe

After accumulating 12 years of experience from multiple jobs, Ashneer Grover decided to start his own business. His experience as the head of business development and payments at PC Jeweller sparked the idea of starting a payments company. Ashneer eventually joined hands with Shashvat Nakrani to establish BharatPe in 2018.

Together they built the fintech company from scratch and added several services to its core operation. Today, BharatPe offers UPI Payments, QR codes for transactions, POS machines for card payments, an investment and loan app called 12% Club, and digital gold transactions.

When BharatPe was a $30 mn company, Ashneer claimed that he received an offer of $50 mn from Google Pay, but he refused to materialize a deal with the latter, as per one of his statements in the show Shark Tank India. Grover later added that he knew that he was meant for something big, which all of the entrepreneurs and the founders and CEOs to be, should aim for, and BharatPe is currently valued at over $3 bn now.

They also got approval from the RBI for small business financing in collaboration with Centrum Financial Services Ltd. By offering diverse services, Ashneer Grover has made BharatPe one of the most used payments apps in the country.

Ashneer Grover - Controversies and Challenges Faced

BharatPe, as a company, got into a controversy when it labeled itself as nationalistic and the competitors as Non-Indian companies. The company issued pamphlets citing such details to the public. So the competitors filed a lawsuit against BharatPe and reported the same with the RBI.

Another controversy arose when PhonePe and BharatPe fought for the word โ€˜Peโ€™ in their respective names. PhonePe has filed a case against the latter in Delhi High Court. It was later disposed of by the same.

A major controversy faced by Ashneer Grover was about a recent audio clip leak on Twitter. It is claimed that Grover used inappropriate language and threatened a Kotak employee over an issue of not securing Nykaaโ€™s IPO shares.

Before this issue could be settled, the companyโ€™s board raised accusations against Ashneer and his wife. The board accused them of initiating fraudulent transactions against non-existing vendors. They also reported irregularities in invoices.

The audio issue forced him to stay away from the company and take a temporary leave for three months. After the discovery of the financial irregularities, the board demanded the permanent exit of Ashneer Grover from the company. Grover then responded that he was happy to leave his role in BharathPe but would always stay as a shareholder and a founder.

With pressure mounting up on Ashneer Grover to leave BharatPe, he had strongly criticized the CEO Suhail Sameer. He said that Sameer manipulated and arm-twisted him to exit the company. Grover had also demanded a huge compensation worth around Rs. 4000 crores for his withdrawal from BharatPe. He said that he has 9.5% stakes, which would worth around the same amount, but itโ€™s been reported that the board is unlikely to agree with it.

Ashneer Grover Resigns from BharatPe

Ashneer Grover had made an emergency arbitration plea to the SIAC but that was tossed off by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre. He made everyone believe that the probe by the board was unethical, but he failed. Grover also demanded his buyback before exiting the company, but the BharatPe investors declined the same. According to the BharatPe Board, Grover received the agenda of the company's board meeting on February 28, 2022, which will also include the PWC report of the conduct of Grover where the actions taken against him, will also be discussed, and it was on the same day that Ashneer Grover resigned. Grover resigned with immediate effect on 28th February but claimed that he will still be standing as the single largest shareholder of the company after mentioning that he and his family were "vilified" and forced to resign. ย 

Conclusion

The story of Ashneer Grover enunciates that however successful you are, problems and challenges are part and parcel of life. The way you overcome them has the power to define who you are.

Despite the accusations made against him by the board, one can never disagree with the effort and time Ashneer Grover invested in the growth of BharatPe. The Ashneer Grover controversy undoubtedly kept the startup ecosystem, BharatPe Board, the media, entrepreneurs, business professionals, and others engaged for over 2 months, but what hooks all of us right in is what Grover next plans to do. A man of his calibre would certainly have some plans in mind for the startup ecosystem too along with his own personal gains.

Ashneer Grover - FAQs

Who is the founder of BharatPe?

Shashvat Nakrani and Bhavik Koladiya are the founders of BharatPe.

Who is the CEO of BharatPe?

Suhail Sameer is the CEO of the company since August 2020.

What are the qualifications of Ashneer Grover?

He graduated B.Tech from IIT Delhi and MBA in Finance from IIM Ahmedabad.

What is the issue with BharatPeโ€™s board and Ashneer Grover?

The board accused Grover and his wife of making fraudulent transactions and irregular maintenance of invoices.

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