Once upon a time in BharatPe

The evolution of four-year-old fintech venture BharatPe, and how the corporate boardroom saga has unfolded in the past six months.

Once upon a time in BharatPe

Monday February 07, 2022,

5 min Read

BharatPe is a fintech venture embroiled in a boardroom battle with Co-founder and Managing Director Ashneer Grover. Here’s a timeline of how the company has evolved.

March 19, 2018

Bhavik Koladiya and Shashvat Mansukhbhai Nakrani create Resilient Innovations, which runs BharatPe.

Co-Founders, BharatPe

July 2018

Ashneer Grover joins BharatPe as Co-founder and CEO.

Ashneer Grover, Co-founder and MD, BharatPe

September 2018

Beenext and Sequoia India invest $20 million in seed round of BharatPe.

October 2018

Madhuri Jain joins BharatPe as Head of Controls.

November 2018

The largest stakeholder, Bhavik, transfers his shares to Shashvat, Shashvat’s father, Ashneer, and a clutch of angel investors, because of his former conviction in the US in a stolen-identity case.

January 2019

Raises $15.5 million in a Series A round led by Sequoia Capital India, Insight Partners, Beenext.

June 2019

Raises $50 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital India, Ribbit Capital, and Steadview Capital.

November 2019

Raises $75 million in a Series C round led by US-based Ribbit Capital, Amplo, and hedge fund Coatue Management.

January 2020

BharatPe applies for NBFC licence. 

April 2020

BharatPe joins hands with ICICI Lombard to launch Coronavirus insurance-cover for shopkeepers.

May 2020

The fintech startup launches two voice-based applications to avoid touching handsets for checking transactions.

July 2020

BharatPe launches scheme to allow employees to sell back their shares from first vesting. 

August 2020

  • Suhail Sameer joins BharatPe as Group President

  • The Reserve Bank of India rejects BharatPe’s NBFC application. 
Suhail Sameer, CEO, BharatPe

October 2020

  • BharatPe reports a base of 5 million merchants in 65 cities, processing six crore UPI transactions a month.

  • Dhruv Dhanraj Bahl gets elevated to Chief Operating Officer. He heads operations across customer support, deployments - QR, Swipe & Cards, KYC, loan disbursals and lead generation.

November 2020

BharatPe appoints Kewal Handa as independent director. Kewal was previously associated with the Union Bank of India and Pfizer India.

Kewal Handa, Independent Director, BharatPe

January 2021

  • BharatPe raises $8.18 million in debt financing from Innoven Capital.

  • Sumeet Singh is appointed as General Counsel and Head - Corporate Strategy.

February 2021

  • Raises $108 million in a Series D round led by Coatue Management, Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Steadview Capital, Beenext, Amplo, Sequoia Capital.  

  • BharatPe forms a consortium with non-bank lender Centrum Group to acquire Punjab Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank.

  • Gives 18 of its angel investors an exit with up to 80X returns

  • BharatPe loan-book crosses Rs 1,000 crore.

  • Raises $25.88 million in debt financing from Trifecta Capital, Alteria Capital, and ICICI Bank.
Jaspal Bindra, Centrum India

June 2021

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issues an in-principle approval to Centrum Financial Services to establish a small finance bank, in which Resilient Innovations (BharatPe) has a 49 percent stake.

Rijish Raghavan, CEO, Payback

August 2021

  • Valued at $2.8 billion, BharatPe raises $370 million in a Series E round led by Tiger Global, Dragoneer Investment Group, and Steadfast Capital. Becomes a Unicorn

  • Suhail Sameer elevated as CEO of BharatPe, and Executive Director on the board of the holding company - Resilient Innovations Private Limited.

  • BharatPe raises $26.8 million in debt funding from IIFL Wealth and Asset Management and Northern Arc Capital.

October 2021

  • The Board of Resilient Innovations appoints former SBI Chairman Rajnish Kumar as Chairman.

  • BharatPe raises $14 million in debt financing from MAS Financial Services Private Limited (MAS Financial), a non-banking financial company.
Rajnish Kumar, BharatPe

November 2021

BharatPe begins operations of Unity Small Finance Bank (SFB) in partnership with Centrum India to revive scam-hit cooperative bank PMC Bank.

January 19, 2022

Ashneer Grover goes on temporary leave of absence till March-end.

January 30, 2022

BharatPe Board initiates internal audit and governance review.

February 2, 2022

  • John Weinstein, Principal, Deputy General Counsel at Insight Partners, appointed to the board of BharatPe.

February 4, 2022

  • Mint reports that a preliminary internal investigation has revealed instances of financial fraud.

  • In an interview with Moneycontrol.com, Ashneer Grover says that the Board must either let him run the company or buy out his stake in the company for Rs 4,000 crore. 

February 5, 2022

  • Ashneer Grover seeks removal of BharatPe CEO Suhail Sameer.
  • Shashvat Nakrani, Co-founder and director, backs Suhail to continue on the BharatPe board.

February 20, 2022

The first hearing takes place after Ashneer Grover files an arbitration plea with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), claiming that despite multiple representations and objections, BharatPe has kept the review assessment process against him opaque.

February 21, 2022

Ashneer Grover makes an appearance on Rohan Joshi's YouTube channel, where he expresses his desire to get into politics, linking it to his experience as a founder in the Indian economy.

February 23, 2022

  • BharatPe terminates Madhuri Jain's services as Head of Controls in the company.
  • Ashneer Grover accuses Rajnish Kumar, chairman of the board, and Bhavik Koladiya, co-founder of the company, of improper conduct, citing a phone call where Koladiya became abusive and used foul language.
  • Madhuri Jain Grover retaliates against BharatPe with a series of videos on Twitter, accusing the BharatPe board and senior members of the company of inappropriate behaviour.

March 1, 2022

  • Ashneer Grover resigns as the MD and a board member at BharatPe, continues to remain the single largest individual shareholder of the company.

March 2, 2022

  • BharatPe says Ashneer Grover’s family misappropriated funds, created fake vendors.
  • Ashneer Grover hits back, says sold $12 million in BharatPe shares to investors.

March 14, 2022

BharatPe launches gold loans for merchant partners, targets disbursal of Rs 500 crore.

April 1, 2022

BharatPe appoints executive from Alvarez & Marsal as interim CFO, search for permanent CFO in "advanced stages".

April 19, 2022

BharatPe has announced the appointment of Smiriti Handa to the post of Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) as the company deals with complaints of non-payment of salaries for the month of March and non-payment of dues to retrenched employees.

May 10, 2022

BharatPe moves to a new governance framework and has "initiated necessary action against the former Founder to claw back his restricted shares as per the shareholders’ agreement."

Edited by Kunal Talgeri and Megha Reddy