Shark Tank India’s Ashneer Grover landed in controversy last month, after an audiotape of him, in which he is allegedly threatening and hurling abuses at a Kotak Mahindra Bank employee, was released. Ashneer has denied these accusations and has said that he will leave his company BharatPe, if investors give him ₹4,000 crore.
After the audiotape was released last month, Ashneer called it a “fake audio by some scamster trying to extort funds. He later deleted the tweet. Kotak Mahindra Bank is now pursuing legal action against Ashneer over “inappropriate language” used against their employee. In a new interview with Money Control, Ashneer has said that he will leave the company only if an investor buys out his 9.5% stake, at a valuation of $6 billion.
Ashneer said, “What have I done to resign? This is like execution before trial. I am the MD (managing director). I run the company. If the board thinks I don’t need to be the MD and someone else should run the company, please put my ₹4,000 crore on the table and take the key away from me. If you want to buy me out you want to buy me out at the fair market value, right? In my view, the fair market value is $6 billion. Either I’ll run the company or they buy me out, there is no third option.”
Ashneer added, “From May 2021, when the round was priced, my merchant business today is 50% higher. I have got a bank license, which was not there then. I have built the largest P2P (peer-to-peer) platform, 12% Club, which wasn’t there. I have built PostPe, a BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) play. We have also merged PMC (Bank) in addition to getting the license. If I was running the business, I am extremely confident of doing a $6 billion valuation round.”
After reports about the alleged audio came to light, Ashneer took voluntary leave till March-end. Last week, Ashneer’s wife Madhuri Grover also reportedly went on a leave of absence.
Ashneer completed his MBA from IIM Ahmedabad in 2006. He has worked as a vice president at Kotak Mahindra Bank, after which he joined American Express. In 2015, he founded Grofers and worked as the company’s chief financial officer. In 2018, he co-founded BharatPe.
Ashneer was last seen on Sony TV’s show Shark Tank India, as one of the sharks. Apart from him, the show also featured Shaadi.com, Makaan.com, and People Group founder Anupam Mittal, Sugar Cosmetics co-founder and CEO Vineeta Singh, boAt co-founder and CMO Aman Gupta, Lenskart co-founder and CEO Peyush Bansal, Emcure Pharmaceuticals executive director Namita Thapar and MamaEarth co-founder Ghazal Alagh.