BharatPe’s messy origins & Ashneer Grover’s growing troubles


Aditi Shrivastava

156 reads

Aditi Shrivastava

156 reads

There have been many warning signs at BharatPe, one of India’s hottest fintech startups. From a co-founder’s past conviction for mail fraud in the US to investor-turned-CEO Ashneer Grover’s brash attitude towards employees, investors and outside stakeholders. Is it too late to make amends?

January 18, 2022


BharatPe’s rise has been phenomenal. Within three years of launch, it has a $2.8-billion valuation and counts marquee investors from the US, such as Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management and Ribbit, as its main backers. Plus, former SBI chairperson Rajnish Kumar heads its board. 

More crucially, the fintech startup is part owner of a small finance bank (SFB) venture, something its peers have been eyeing for years. BharatPe has just begun operations of this venture, Unity SFB, in partnership with Centrum, and together, they plan to revive scam-hit cooperative bank PMC.

But BharatPe has a troubled past of its own, the details of which have not been publicly known. It points to investor ignorance, potential governance problems and a poor work culture — big red flags for a company providing financial services. 

The issues are linked to BharatPe co-founder Bhavik Koladiya’s former conviction in the US, and the questions arising now may cause further complications for managing director Ashneer Grover, who is facing multiple controversies.

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