BharatPe’s founder Koladiya sues Grover to reclaim shares

New Delhi: BharatPe’s original founder Bhavik Koladiya has approached the Delhi high court to reclaim his shares from ousted managing director Ashneer Grover, who is also a co-founder of the fintech startup.

The matter has been listed before Justice Prateek Jalan in the Delhi high court.

BharatPe was incorporated in March 2018 by Koladiya and Shashvat Nakrani (who was then studying at IIT-Delhi) as co-founders, with each owning a 50% stake. Koladiya was the company’s face back then and was talking to investors for funding.

Three months later, in June 2018, Grover joined as the third co-founder.

When Grover joined BharatPe, he received 32% equity, Nakrani held 25.5%, and Koladiya retained the largest stake at 42.5%, according to Registrar of Companies filings.

Last year, Mint was the first to report about Koladiya and Grover’s fight over shares.

However, six months later, in December 2018, just before Sequoia came on board as an investor, Koladiya’s name went missing from the founders’ list, “owning to discomfort on the part of large institutional investors to have a person with a jail term in the US.”

Koladiya, who went to the US in 2007, operated an unlicensed digital payment system at his grocery store, violating US identity theft and mail fraud laws.

Koladiya was arrested but let go with a fine of $100 and deported back to India in 2015.

And since Sequoia came on board, Grover became the face of the company, while Koladiya continued as a ‘consultant’.

However, the founders reached an understanding to minimize Koladiya’s public involvement.

The arrangement involved him transferring his stake to Grover, Nakrani, Nakrani’s father (also his erstwhile schoolteacher) and some angel investors.

Koladiya declined to comment, referring the questions to his attorneys, Sim & San. A spokesperson for BharatPe also declined to comment.

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