[YS Exclusive] Investment firm appoints its lawyer on BharatPe Board
The board of Resilient Innovations, which runs, added a director on February 2, 2022 — six days ago. With the latest director's onboarding, BharatPe now has nine directors on its Board.
John Weinstein, Principal, Deputy General Counsel at Insight Partners, is the new addition to the Board of directors. Insight Partners has 9.6 percent stake in Resilient Innovations.
Insight Partners was part of the Series A round in Resilient Innovations in January 2019.
John is an experienced private equity and venture capital attorney with extensive in-house and law firm experience, according to his Linkedin profile. He is a CFA charterholder with economics and finance education, and has previously been an Associate (M&A, private equity) at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.
BharatPe responded to a YourStory question on the board composition, providing a complete list of Board members in the fintech startup, valued at $2.8 billion in August 2021 when Tiger Global led a round of $370 million in BharatPe.
The BharatPe Board composition is as follows:
1. Rajnish Kumar, Chairman and independent director;
2. Rahul Kishore, Senior Managing Director at Coatue Management;
3. Harshjit Sethi, Managing Director at Sequoia Capital India;
4. Kewal Kundanlal Handa, independent director;
5. Meyer Malka (also known as Micky), Managing Partner at Ribbit Capital;
6. Ashneer Grover, Co-Founder and MD, BharatPe;
7. Shashvat Nakrani, Co-Founder, BharatPe;
8. Suhail Sameer, CEO of BharatPe, and joint nominee of Co-founders; and
9. John Weinstein, Principal, Deputy General Counsel at Insight Partners.
Resilient Innovations' articles of association place the limit of directors on its Board at 10.
Rajnish Kumar, Former Chairman of State Bank of India, assumed charge as Chairman of the Board on October 11, 2021.
Currently, Sequoia leads the cap table with a 19.6 percent stake, followed by Coatue's 12.4 percent stake. Founders Ashneer and Shashvat Nakrani have 9.5 percent and 7.8 stake of Resilient Innovations, which runs BharatPe.
BharatPe has been embroiled in a boardroom tussle since early January 2022, when a leaked audio file went viral on social media, featuring the voices of a man and a woman who are swearing at and threatening a bank employee, for his failure to help secure financing for participation in the IPO of FSN E-Commerce Ventures, which owns and operates beauty commerce company Nykaa.
The voices allegedly belong to Ashneer and his wife Madhu Jain.
On Twitter, Ashneer claimed that the audio clip was "fake" and that a ‘scamster’ was trying to extort $240,000 in Bitcoins from the couple, leaking the audio clip as they refused to buckle. This tweet was later deleted by Ashneer.
Soon after, a 4-page legal notice dated October 30, 2021 signed by Regstreet Law Advisors, a Mumbai-based boutique law firm representing the Grover-couple surfaced which had called upon Kotak (Group) to compute ‘this amount on the listing of Nykaa and promptly pay this sum to our clients within 24 hours of listing of Nykaa stocks. “Kotak is also liable to pay the costs of this legal notice in the sum of Rs 1,00,000/- (Rupees One Lakh only),” the notice had added.
On January 9, Kotak Group placed on record its objections to the ‘inappropriate language’ used by Ashneer against an employee. In its statement, the Kotak Group said that ‘appropriate legal action was being pursued.’
Following this episode, Ashneer on January 19 informed the Board at BharatPe of his decision to take a voluntary leave-of-absence from the company till end of March. Since then, the Board has taken up an internal audit review of BharatPe.
(Additional inputs by Payal Ganguly)