Investing in physical assets has now been made easy by Grip Invest!

Jeenal Jain Jeenal Jain
Nov 20, 2021 11 min read
Investing in physical assets has now been made easy by Grip Invest!

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Grip Invest.

Grip Invest is democratizing investment opportunities in lease finance. The startup curates investment opportunities in lease finance by identifying companies looking to lease assets to meet capital needs. It then presents these opportunities on its platform for the retail investors to participate by investing as minimum as INR 20K for an IRR of over 15%.  

Grip Invest has facilitated Investments worth INR 100 crore for 40+ companies such as Udaan, Furlenco, Holisol, Everest Fleet, Loadshare, IPL Tech, ChargeZone, among many. It has a strong 100,000+ retail investor community, growing 30% month-on-month for the last 12 months.

StartupTalky interviewed Nikhil Aggarwal (Founder & CEO of Grip Invest) to get insights into the startup story and roadmap of the organization. In this article, you'll discover how Grip Invest was conceptualized, its ideology, business model, funding, growth, future plans, and more.  

Grip Invest - Company Highlights

Startup Name Grip Invest
Founders Nikhil Aggarwal, Vivek Gulati
Headquarters Gurgaon
Founded 2020
Industry Investment Tech, Fintech
Website gripinvest.in

Grip Invest - About and Vision
Grip Invest - Industry Details
Grip Invest - Idea and Inspiration
Grip Invest - Founders and Team
Grip Invest - Ideology behind Name & Logo
Grip Invest - Business Model & Revenue Model
Grip Invest - Launch and Marketing Strategies
Grip Invest - Challenges Faced
Grip Invest - Growth and Stats
Grip Invest - Funding and Investors
Grip Invest - Advisors and Mentors
Grip Invest - Competitors
Grip Invest - Future Plans
Grip Invest - FAQs

Grip Invest - About and Vision

Grip’s mission is to democratize investment opportunities and help individuals to create wealth at an attractive risk-reward ratio. At the same time, it also wants to contribute to the growth of the startups and companies by supporting them with capital in the form of assets.

Grip Invest presents a unique investment option of earning a higher fixed income return along with the backing of an asset (lower risk). The startup curates investment opportunities in lease finance by identifying companies looking to lease assets to meet capital needs. It then presents these opportunities on its platform for the retail investors to participate by investing as minimum as INR 20K for an IRR of over 15%.

Grip Invest - Industry Details

Karvy’s India Wealth Report 2019 puts the total individual wealth in India at $5Tn, growing 13.2% annually to $11.4Tn by 2024. While alternative investments are a fraction of the market today - just 0.5% of financial assets, the report estimates that it will be the fastest-growing segment and account for $500Bn by 2024.


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Grip Invest - Idea and Inspiration

At Grip, there were two insights that got the team going -

  1. Individual investors have very limited investment options - all their friends and family were just investing in stocks or bank deposits. They knew other products existed and that there was an appetite for them but they just were not available to individual investors
  2. Technology is making companies adopt an asset-light business model - The largest transport provider will not own vehicles (Ola, Rapido, Chalo); the largest furnishing company will not own furniture (Furlenco, Rentomojo); even Amazon Web Services, the cloud server of the world will never need to own the servers. All these business models are a layer of technology where the physical asset - cars, furniture, servers will be owned by someone else. This meant that leasing would be incredibly in demand.

Grip Invest - Founders and Team

Nikhil Aggarwal (CEO) and Vivek Gulati are the founders of Grip Invest.

Grip Invest Founder and CEO
Nikhil Aggarwal - Founder & CEO of Grip Invest

Nikhil's co-founder, Vivek Gulati, used to report to him at his previous start-up, Chalo. Aashish who is Grip Invest's Chief Product Officer also worked with Vivek and Nikhil at Chalo.

Vivek Gulati | Co-founder, Grip Invest

Over the last 6 years, Vivek has been part of multiple early-stage ventures with responsibilities in business development, business expansion, and operations. During his tenure at OYO, Vivek grew from handling business development in NCR to being a micro-market CEO to then heading OYO’s business expansion across 70 cities. Vivek’s role included sales, business strategy, revenue management, and scaling all tier-2 city businesses from 0 to $100Mn/year. Subsequently, as part of the business development team in Chalo, he brought these skill-sets to scale-up partnerships with private and government bus operators across India. In 2016, Vivek also co-founded and ran Frubox, a health food venture doing a 300+ daily delivery of fresh food. Vivek has a B.Tech degree in Chemical Engineering from the Malaviya National Institute of Technology.

Aashish Jindal | Chief Product Officer, Grip Invest

Over the last 5 years, he has taken up responsibilities in product management, program management, and new product launches. Having worked with large corporations such as ICICI Lombard as well as startups, Pepperfry, Chalo, he understands how to execute and implement things in a fast and efficient way. Having worked in both technology and operational roles has helped him succeed in his last role where he grew ARR from $0.2Mn to $5Mn in 5 months. He has a B.Tech degree from one of IIT Roorkee.

Current company size: 30

Work Culture

Grip Invest has always been a people-first approach based and wanted to clearly lay down on its cultural values and style of working. Given it started post first lockdown in 2020 and the team hiring, joining and all the processes happened online, it wrote down about the cultural values early on and started onboarding people post a session on cultural values only.

Also read: Importance of Work Culture in the Success of a Startup

Grip Invest's Cultural values:

  1. Ownership
  2. Commitment
  3. Courage - Ask, Listen, Do
  4. Transparency
  5. Celebrate wins

Style of working:

  1. Data backed decisions
  2. Encourage out of box thinking
  3. Giving context
  4. Fun place to work
  5. It’s okay to make mistakes but repeating is not

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The team wanted to decide on a name that can resonate with the idea of democratizing the investment for Indians by bringing the opportunities at a low minimum transaction value.

Initially, they thought of names like investxs (read - Extra Small), investequal, etc but could not finalize anything. Then Nikhil had this old business idea for real estate opportunities which was GRIP - Group Real Estate Investment and then in one of the PPTs he just used the GRIP name and it just clicked that Grip means in someone’s reach or hand and resonated so much with their current idea.

Grip Invest
Grip Invest Logo

About logo designing: Grip Invest is a data-driven company and the team here believes in creating a process first before doing. So they finalized a process that involved understanding different color schemes, fonts, etc, and then created draft versions. Later they shared those versions with friends and family members to get feedback and finalized the one it has now.

Grip Invest - Business Model & Revenue Model

Grip’s Role for Investors

The startup undertakes the following activities for its investors -

  1. Identify assets for investment and construct deals with leasing partners that meet its financial and risk criteria
  2. Make these investment options (asset, details of leasing partner, and leasing terms) available on the Grip platform
  3. Set up and ensure compliance of the SPV which owns the asset. The assets for each deal are held under an individual SPV structured as a Limited Liability Partnership to ensure transparency and avoid any chance of co-mingling of funds.
  4. Monitoring of the investment over the tenure including ensuring timely payment of lease rental and in adverse situations resale/ release of the assets

Grip’s Proposition for Lessee’s

Generally speaking, companies use leasing as an alternative option to taking a loan to purchase an asset for a variety of reasons. In fact in countries in Europe and North America, leasing and hire purchases account for 20-40% of total investments annually while India is at a few percentage points at best.

These reasons are:

  1. Desire to maintain an asset-light business
  2. Inability to make the upfront payment of 20-30% of the asset value required to take a loan
  3. Desire to match the timing of inflow and outflow or revenue and interest/ lease payments
  4. Ability to achieve a lower cost via lease vs. loan. This depends on the financial profile of the lessee, tax, and depreciation rates that vary case by case.
  5. Inability to take bank finance due to need to provide additional collateral or have a certain financial profile as a borrower
  6. The flexibility of being able to replace the asset before end-of-life, especially applicable for electronics
  7. Desire to avoid hassle or purchasing, maintaining and then selling the asset

Revenue Model

Grip Invest charges 1 to 2% from both investors and lessees on the investment amount. Additionally, it gets a 1 to 3% OEM discount on the assets.


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Grip Invest - Launch and Marketing Strategies

"We are always thankful to our friends and family members who became our early believers and helped us in making references" says Nikhil, Founder & CEO, Grip Invest.

It started with a small list of 60 to 70 people in the beginning and then went ahead with word of mouth and introductions made by these people helped the startup to reach its first 100 customers. The team at Grip Invest always believed in collaboration and sharing. They started on simple yet powerful tools like Google Sheet, Asana, and Mailchimp.

Social Media is a boon for scaling up! Grip Invest started with its organic content on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. It followed a basic process of posting content that resonated with its audience about their investment woes and pain points around fluctuations in the share market, uncertainty in returns, and the mind share all this took. The team saw good traffic flowing in and eventually, people started registering and investing on the website. Great content is the best marketing strategy!

The startup has always worked with lessee partners who have great due diligence and many times a good brand presence. Th team started doing webinars with the CEOs or Founders of the companies that they leased to and eventually, they promoted the upcoming webinar events, and later the unfiltered session was launched on its YouTube Channel. All these efforts helped in building good trust and brand with their investors.

Grip Invest [Webinar]

Grip Invest - Challenges Faced

The biggest challenge faced by Grip Invest: TRUST

Investment is all about trust and it is an ongoing thing! Building that trust from scratch for a new and completely online platform was the biggest challenge.

The team at Grip Invest has always made sure -

  1. To make their due diligence strong
  2. To maintain great transparency on the opportunities for the investors
  3. To get monthly/quarterly updates from their lessee partners
  4. To take proactive measures to fix any problems that they foresee
  5. To build for fallback mechanisms such as re-lease or sale of assets

The efforts put into building trust have gone a long way and allowed the startup to scale very quickly. It has also created a very powerful brand in the mind of its users which is reflected in the fact that at least 25% of them have referred another user to Grip.


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Grip Invest - Growth and Stats

Grip Invest has a strong 100,000+ retail investor community, growing 30% month-on-month for the last 12 months. And since its investment model is entirely based on digital payments, physical presence for investment isn’t required.

Some of the key metrics & stats of Grip Invest are -

  • 100,000+ registered users from 42 countries and 322 cities
  • 5,000 registered users who have made at least 1 investment
  • 43% of users have invested more than once and 12% have invested more than 5 times. Typically an investor makes their second investment in just 25 days of the first investment.
  • Assets have been leased to 40 different leasing partners
  • 13 Cr have been processed in returns to investors with nil default
  • The startup's annualized revenue run rate is 7.2 Cr.

Moreover, Grip Invest has facilitated Investments worth INR 100 crore for 40+ companies such as Udaan, Furlenco, Holisol, Everest Fleet, Loadshare, IPL Tech, ChargeZone, Zypp, Vogo, FleetX, FabAlley, BlueTokai to access a different channel of growth capital.

Grip Invest - Funding and Investors

Date Stage Amount Investors
Aug 2021 Series A $3 Mn Venture Highway, Endiya Partners, AdvantEdge
Pre-series A - Anicut Capital, Gemba Capital
  • To date, Grip Invest has raised a total funding of $3.6 million
  • Grip Invest recently raised INR 21 Cr ($3 million) in a Series A round led by Venture Highway, Endiya Partners, and AdvantEdge
  • Its Pre-Series A round was led by Anicut Capital and Gemba Capital
  • Key angels in the company include Anupam Mittal, Maninder Gulati, Akash & Reeju (Founders, CashFree), Satyen Kothari (Cube Wealth and Citrus Pay), Ankit Aggarwal (Navi)
  • The founders personally invested 15 Lakhs in the company before receiving the first round of funding
"We will utilize the capital raised to expand the range of investment products offered, launch new user features and strengthen our team as we aim to facilitate INR 1,000 Cr in investments by Sept’22" - Nikhil added

Grip Invest - Advisors and Mentors

  • Anupam Mittal, Founder & CEO at People Group
  • Sidharrth Shankar, Partner at J. Sagar Associates
  • Rajiv Gupta, MD at DBS Bank

Grip Invest - Competitors

There are several platforms offering new forms of investment and Grip Invest considers them to be its key competitors. These include companies like pyse, TradeCred, KredX, Klubworks, and Wint Wealth. Globally, YieldStreet in the US has been a path leader in this product with 250,000 investors and $1.3 billion in capital invested.

Grip Invest - Future Plans

Grip Invest plans to expand the range of investment products offered, launch new user features, and strengthen its team. It is eyeing to facilitate INR 1,000 Cr in investments by Sept’22.

Grip Invest - FAQs

What is Grip Invest?

Grip Invest curates investment opportunities in lease finance by identifying companies looking to lease assets to meet capital needs. It then presents these opportunities on its platform for the retail investors to participate by investing as minimum as INR 20K for an IRR of over 15%.

Who are the founders of Grip Invest?

Nikhil Aggarwal (CEO) and Vivek Gulati are the founders of Grip Invest.

When was Grip Invest launched?

Grip Invest was launched in 2020 to democratize investment opportunities and help individuals to create wealth at an attractive risk-reward ratio.

How does Grip Invest make money?

Grip Invest charges 1 to 2% from both investors and lessees on the investment amount. Additionally, it gets a 1 to 3% OEM discount on the assets.

How much funding has Grip Invest raised?

To date, Grip Invest has raised a total funding of $3.6 million.

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