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Ashneer Grover resigns from Bharatpe and sends scathing letter to board; Read the resignation letter here


BharatPe’s chief executive and board director Ashneer Grover tendered his resignation on March 1 from both positions. In a scathing letter to the board, the co-founder of the fintech company said, “I will continue as the company’s largest individual shareholder.”

CNBC-TV18 has a copy of the resignation letter. “I hereby resign as Managing Director of BharatPe, effective immediately. I also resign as a director of the Board of Directors. I will continue as the company’s largest individual shareholder,” Grover wrote.

He added that he had been forced out of the business and said: “Since the beginning of 2022, unfortunately, I have been involved in baseless and targeted attacks against me and my family by a few individuals who are willing not only to hurt me and my reputation, but also to harm the reputation of the company, which they are ostensibly trying to protect.”

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He co-founded the company in October 2018 and was named CEO. Grover was promoted to general manager in August 2021.

Here is the full resignation that Grover sent to the BharatPe board:

For,

Board of directors,

Ms. Resilient Innovations Private Limited,

45, 1st and 2nd floor, Corner Market,

Malvia Nagar, Delhi – 110017

Subject: Letter of resignation

Dear Council,

I write this with a heavy heart because today I am forced to say goodbye to a company of which I am one of the founders. I say with my head held high that today this company is positioning itself as a leader in the world of fintech. Since the beginning of 2022, unfortunately, I have been involved in baseless and targeted attacks against me and my family by a few individuals who are out to not only harm me and my reputation, but also harm the reputation of the company, which apparently they are trying to protect.

After being celebrated as the face of Indian entrepreneurship and an inspiration to Indian youth to start their own business, I am now losing myself in a long, lonely battle against my own investors and leaders. Unfortunately, in this battle, the leadership has lost what is really at stake – BharatPe.

People who know me and have worked closely with me know that I believe in building no matter the odds. I graduated from IIT Delhi – IIM Ahmedabad, the best that Indian education system has to offer. I am the child of middle class parents who instilled in me the values ​​of hard work, integrity and honesty. I am a professional with an impeccable track record who was instrumental in building two unicorn businesses i.e. Grofers and BharatPe from the ground up. I have not only encouraged the youth of this country to pursue their dreams, but I have also created an arena of employment opportunities for tens of thousands of Indian gig economy workers. I am proud that my journey and growth has not only been limited to me, but has also encompassed people associated with me, professionally and personally. In my efforts to promote and grow the start-up ecosystem in our country, I have reinvested what I have earned and helped many people along the way.

I raised BharatPe as my baby. I built it with my co-founder and an amazing team of individuals. Most of the time the circumstances were hostile (to say the least), but that didn’t stop me. BharatPe was the latest entrant into the UPI space and competed with giants like PayTM, PhonePe and GooglePay – but it still emerged as an industry leader. I had the vision to disrupt payments with ‘0% MDR’, lending with merchant ‘loans against payments’, P2P with ‘12%Club’ and BNPL with ‘postpe’. Through my efforts and hard work, the company has created a network of more than 1 crore (10 million) traders who transact more than 100,000 crore rupees (16 billion US dollars) per year and have loaned more than Rs 4,000 crore (US$0.5 billion) as loans. It is indisputable that BharatPe loans have helped thousands of small businesses to fight against organized e-commerce and COVID.

Most importantly and the only time for any Fintech in India – through my constant efforts, the company acquired a Small Finance Bank license to create “Unity Small Finance Bank”. I showed common sense and intention to find a solution for PMC Bank and Ten Lakh of its depositors to return their hard earned funds to them.

The height at which BharatPe stands today is the result of the hard work of the past four years. With a team of less than five hundred employees, a total spend of less than US$150 million, and raising US$615 million from ten renowned investors without involving a single banker, BharatPe’s success story is for everyone to see. While scripting the business success of BharatPe, the company was also offering liquidity to our employees of over Rs 100 crore against their ESOPs and giving at least eighty times returns to each of its twenty-eight angel investors. While the company was valued at Rs 20,000 crore (US$3 billion) as per the Series E round; today, it would be valued at Rs 40,000 crores (6 billion US dollars), in less than a year. No other startup of similar valuation has been able to achieve what BharatPe has achieved today using less than Rs 1,000 crores. Clearly, the success story of BharatPe is for the world to see.

Am I perfect? Like any other human being, I’m sure I have my follies. I have been told that I am too direct, stubborn and have very high standards when it comes to work. But it is these qualities that have driven BharatPe’s exponential growth to become an industry giant.

Unfortunately, what has happened in the recent past appears to be a battle of egos played out at the media gallery under the guise of “good governance”. The basic fact is that all of you as investors are so removed from reality that you have forgotten what real businesses look like and have no idea what it took to run this business day in and day out. . Your view of BharatPe has been confined to the small window of your Zoom Meetings app, far from the sweat of the brow that makes BharatPe the business leader he is. None of you, including those based in India, have ever come to our offices once, since the pandemic turned our lives upside down and sought to stifle the economy. Not even once. Not Mickey. Not Harshjit. Not Mohit. Not Teru San. Not Rahul. Not Deven. Person. None of you even showed up despite being invited to the inauguration of our new office. This is how you are connected to BharatPe.

Your view of the businesses and the issues on the ground are so colored by the windows of the Ivory Tower in which you all reside that you have no connection to the human element of the business. It is sad that you even lost contact with the Founder. You lost sight of me. For you, the founder of this company has been reduced to a button to press when needed. I cease to be a human for you. Today you chose to believe gossip and rumors about me instead of having a frank conversation. You are so easily frightened because you have no contact with reality.

The fact is that today you believe that I have served my usefulness and therefore, gradually, I am just becoming a handicap. And since the The fact is that today you believe that I served my usefulness and therefore gradually I become just a handicap. And since the investor model for removing an unwanted founder is to make them the bad guy in the room, that’s what you did and you did – “Let’s invoke the SHA. Let’s furlough him on the pretense of a governance overhaul. Let’s end his wife’s job. Let’s vilify his whole clan. As investors, we’re at the top of the food chain – let’s cut him down and make him an example When you wanted to take advantage of my personal network, you were very happy to do so – today I am reviled and treated in the most shameful way.

You treat us like slaves, the founders, pushing us to build multi-billion dollar companies and shrink at will. The Investor-Founder relationship in India is that of Master-Slave. I am the rebellious slave who must be hung on the tree so that none of the other slaves ever dare to be like me again. Sadly, I refuse to go down this path and tolerate this ongoing and shameful defamation of me and my family. I was the one who founded this company and built it to its enviable position today, no wonder you want to oust me for your personal interests.

So when do we end this? We end this now. Although I maintain that you will find no wrongdoing against me, I will not participate in your charade. Since you clearly believe that you can run this business better without me, I leave you with this challenge. Gradually build even half the value I’ve created so far – I’ll leave you with three times the funds I’ve used so far. I hereby resign as Managing Director of BharatPe, effective immediately. I am also resigning from my position as a director of the board of directors. I will continue to be the principal individual shareholder of the Company.

I founded and made BharatPe what it is today, and that identity none of you can take away from me.

Cordially,

Ashneer Grover


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