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

Bharath Bharath Anik Banerjee Anik Banerjee
Jul 18, 2022 8 min read
Ashneer Grover Success Story- Inspiring Journey of 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. BharatPe founder Ashneer Grover was also seen on the judging panel of the Shark Tank India reality show. His net worth is around INR 700 crore.

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 - Starting up again with the Unicorn Dreams
Ashneer Grover - Controversies and Challenges Faced

Ashneer Grover - Biography

Name Ashneer Grover
Born 14 June 1982
Birth Place Delhi India
Nationality Indian
Education IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad
Position Ex-Founder and MD, BharatPe
Net Worth Rs 700 crore

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 in 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. She’s an entrepreneur and owns a furnishing business named Mauve and Brown in Delhi. Ashneer Grover's wife, Madhuri Grover had taken care of HR, finance, and other internal operations and 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 at 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 €6,000 from the French Embassy. After graduating from IIT, Grover went to the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad for his 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. During his tenure, Grover also famously led some startup investments for the card network of India. The Series B investment in Mobikwik came on behalf of American Express when Grover was still there. 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, a startup founded by his IIT Delhi classmate Albinder Dhindsa. However, Grover left the company in 2017 because he didn't get the ESOP options there that were promised to him earlier. The company is now called Blinkit.

Later in 2017, PC Jeweller Ltd. 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 on the show Shark Tank India. Grover later added that he knew that he was meant for something big, which all the entrepreneurs, founders and CEOs to be, should aim for, and BharatPe was last valued at around $3 bn.

They also got approval from the RBI for small business financing in collaboration with Centrum Financial Services Ltd. By offering diverse services, Ashneer Grover made BharatPe one of the most used payment apps in the country. However, he had to retire after numerous rounds of controversies thrown at him and allegations wrapped him due to the financial irregularities associated with him, which were noticed by the company's board. Ashneer Grover tendered his resignation from BharatPe on February 28, 2022, and boasted of still being recognized as the single largest individual shareholder of the BharatPe company.

In a recent speech that Ashneer Grover gave at the Lovely Professional University on April 29, 2022, where he was invited as a guest speaker, Ashneer shared an insight into how businesses operate and all the things that need to be kept in mind while diving into a new venture. Speaking about the same, he disclosed one such incident, after starting BharatPe, when he sought to make it popular overnight. He had a total of Rs 100 crore in his bank account, but he wanted to sign up Salman Khan. The Bollywood actor charged close to Rs 7.5 crore. However, unsure of whether he could do that, Ashneer asked Salman to reconsider his fees. Salman's manager also asked him "Aap bhindi kharidne aaye ho kya, kitni mandwali karoge?". However, at last, Salman reconsidered the charge, and came down to Rs 4.5 crore, thereby being the brand ambassador of BharatPe in 2019. Β  Β  Β  Β 

Ashneer Grover - Starting up again with the Unicorn Dreams

Ashneer Grover, as per the reports dated June 16, 2022, was looking to find another startup, for which he will likely be raising around $200-300 mn. The former Co-founder and MD of BharatPe is currently in the US and in talks with the US-based family offices and other private equity offshore players to raise the funding required. Sources said that Grover might also start the business with some of his own money and will eventually sell a part of his BharatPe stakes or raise funding by issuing a stake in the new company. People also added that Grover's 8.5% stake is now valued at around $3 bn, and there are also buyers for the stake.

The company or the sector that Ashneer Grover will be inclined to start with his new venture was not confirmed, when last reported in June 2022. However, the former BharatPe founder stated on his 40th birthday that he will be re-entering the world of business and also has plans to build another β€œunicorn".

Fast forward to July 9, 2022, the startup has already been formed by Ashneer and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover and is called Third Unicorn Pvt Ltd., according to the Tofler data. The startup, which has reportedly launched on July 6, 2022, has will have both Ashneer Grover and his wife as Directors. The total paid-up capital and the authorised share capital have been revealed as Rs 10 lakh and Rs 20 lakh respectively.

Ashneer Grover - Controversies and Challenges Faced

BharatPe, as a company, got into a controversy when it labelled itself as nationalistic and its 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 to the RBI.

Another controversy arose when PhonePe and BharatPe fought for the word β€˜Pe’ 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 leaked on Twitter. It is claimed that Grover used inappropriate language and threatened a Kotak employee over an issue of not securing Nykaa’s IPO shares.

Before this issue could be settled, the company’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 be worth around the same amount, but it’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 on the conduct of Grover where the actions were 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. Β 

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.

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.

Is Asheer Grover from IIT?

Ashneer Grover is from IIT Delhi.

Which state is Ashneer Grover from?

If you are wondering Ashneer Grover is from which state, then you should know that the Former Founder and MD of BharatPe was born in Delhi.

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 BharatPe’s board and Ashneer Grover?

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

What is the Bharatpe net worth?

The net worth or the valuation of BharatPe stood at $2.8 bn, when last recorded in February 2022.

What is the former BharatPe founder Ashneer Grover's net worth?

BharatPe founder Ashneer Grover's net worth is around INR 700 crore.

How many startups did Ashneer Grover invested in?

Ashneer Grover has invested in around 24 startups to date.

What are the major investments of Ashneer Grover?

Some of the major investments that Ashneer Grover did were in:

  • M2P Fintech
  • Rupifi
  • Big Bang Food Tech
  • Pocketly
  • The Whole Truth
  • Koo App
  • EasyRewardz
  • MyHq
  • FrontRow

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