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Who is Ashneer Grover, the BharatPe co-founder, MD?

BharatPe's co-founder and managing director (MD) Ashneer Grover went on a voluntary leave till March-end. We take a look at the journey of the famous fintech entrepreneur and the recent controversy.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
January 20, 2022 6:58:06 pm
ashneer grover bharatpe, ashneer grover shark tank indiaBharatPe MD and cofounder Ashneer Grover. (Image source: LinkedIn/Ashneer Grover)

Ashneer Grover, co-founder and managing director (MD) of digital payments platform BharatPe, went on a voluntary leave till the end of March, according to a statement issued by the company on Wednesday. Grover’s decision comes just weeks following a row over a leaked audio clip on social media in which he was allegedly heard using abusive language against a Kotak Mahindra group employee for missing out on financing for the Nykaa IPO last year.

Who is Ashneer Grover?

Ashneer Grover is the co-founder and MD of BharatPe. He along with Shashvat Nakrani had co-founded the digital payments platform BharatPe in 2018. The company serves over 75 lakh merchants across 150 cities.

He is also currently one of the judges of Shark Tank India (an Indian adaptation of a US reality show of the same name).

Before co-founding BharatPe in October 2018, Grover headed the new business at PC Jeweller for a year. Earlier, he was the chief financial officer (CFO) at online grocery platform Grofers for two-and-half years. He was also the director – corporate development at American Express for nearly two years.

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His longest stint was over seven years with Kotak’s Investment Banking where he served as vice president (VP) till May 2013.

Why is he in news these days?

According to reports, Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri had accused the Kotak Mahindra Bank of failing to secure finance and allocation of shares in the initial public offering (IPO) of Nykaa. They had sought Rs 500 crore in damages.

While the lender acknowledged that the couple had on October 30 sent a legal notice to it, without elaborating on the reasons for the same.

“This notice was received by us and was replied to appropriately at the time, including placing on record our objections to inappropriate language used by Grover. Appropriate legal action is being pursued,” a statement from the bank said.

It, however, did not elaborate on the exact point over which the legal action is being pursued.

What is the leaked audio clip?

Earlier this month, an audio clip surfaced on social media where a couple is purportedly speaking to what appears to be a relationship manager from a bank. The male voice hurls abuses and the other male voice is heard pacifying him. It was speculated if it is the Grover couple in the viral clip, and Ashneer Grover denied the same calling the tape as “fake”.

The tweet was made by an account named @BabuBongo which said “how rich founders treat poor bank employees” and included an audio clip. The clip, which is about 4:29 minutes, included an exchange between three people: two male and a female voice. However the audio file has been taken down from Twitter and Soundcloud later.

What did Grover say?

Grover claimed that it’s a fake audio by “some scamster trying to extort funds (USD 2,40,000 bitcoins)” and added that he “refused to buckle”.

“Folks. Chill. It’s a fake audio by some scamster trying to extort funds (USD 240,000 bitcoins). I refused to buckle. I’ve got more character. And, internet has got enough scamsters,” he had tweeted and had also shared screenshots of his e-mail exchange from last month with ‘Unicon Baba’ who sought USD 240,000 in Bitcoins for “managing perception”.

However, Grover later had deleted his tweet.

What is BharatPe?

BharatPe is a fintech platform. It serves over 75 lakh merchants across 150 cities. The company has already facilitated the disbursement of loans totaling over Rs 3,000 crore to its merchants since its launch. BharatPe has raised over $650 million in equity and debt, to date.

Its investors include Tiger Global, Dragoneer Investment Group, Steadfast Capital, Coatue Management, Ribbit Capital and others.

-with PTI inputs

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