[YS Exclusive] In a first, investment-tech startup Grip Invest turns users into shareholders; raises $1M

The Gurugram-based startup conducted the fundraise via AngelList, and gave its users the option to invest in the company via convertible notes.
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Investment platform Grip Invest has raised $1 million in a funding round led by its top 200 users, making these users shareholders, the startup told YourStory in an interaction on Monday.

Around 50 percent of Grip's top 200 users participated in the exclusive fundraising opportunity, the startup added. The fundraise, carried out by Grip Invest, was conducted via AngelList.

In exchange for funds, Grip Invest said it provided its users-turned-shareholders convertible notes, which they will be able to convert into equity at a 20 percent discount when the startup next raises an institutional round. It told YourStory that its current VC investors "waived their right to invest in the latest round so that we could offer this exclusively to our users."

"A lot of our users had repeatedly expressed a desire to invest in Grip and be part of the company’s growth story as shareholders. These users were early adopters of our product and their trust enabled Grip to become a leading alternative investment platform," Nikhil Aggarwal, Founder and CEO of Grip Invest told YourStory.

"We wanted to make sure we gave back," he added.

The average amount users invested in the fundraise was Rs 9 lakh, the startup said. These were mainly users who had typically invested Rs 10 lakh in deals via Grip Invest. It took the startup almost a month to secure commitments, and another to get the funds transferred to them.

The fresh capital infusion, along with cash from previous rounds, will be used to strengthen Grip's product portfolio — it is currently looking to create a new asset-backed, non-market linked investment category — better its digital experience, and strengthen its team, the fintech firm said.

Founded in 2020, Grip Invest is an investment platform that enables investors to pool their money and buy physical assets, which it then leases to rental-model companies.

Counting the current round as well, the startup has raised $4.6 million led by Endiya Partners, Venture Highway as well as angels such as Anicut Angel Fund, Gemba Capital, Anupam Mittal, and others.

The startup's user base has grown 35 percent month-on-month over the last 18 months, and has more than 1.5 lakh investors on its platform who have invested over Rs 160 crore to date.

It claims to have delivered Rs 30 crore in total returns. Nikhil added the startup will start the process of raising its next round in a month.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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