BharatPe-Ashneer controversy Case of employee going crazy, can happen in many cos: CEO Sameer
BharatPe CEO Suhail Sameer said the whole Ashneer Grover-BharatPe is a case of an employee gone nuts, which can happen in many companies, and the company is taking steps to ensure that such incidents do not recur.
Speaking about the culture of the startup, Sameer said that despite all the hype around the culture, the company’s attrition rates are one of the lowest in the industry. “Part of that was probably due to the beauty of the business and the excitement surrounding it. This continues to remain high as our business grows month on month.”
In an interview with Moneycontrol, he said the company needs to take a few steps to change some things about how people perceive the organization and their excitement to come to work beyond the excitement of BharatPe as a ‘business. “We began by announcing that every employee of our company will be part of the Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP), regardless of designation.”
He said the company has also incorporated basic hygiene items such as wellness, gym memberships, insurance coverage changes, and more. “It’s little things to build confidence.”
On changes in corporate culture
Sameer said parts of the changes are already underway. But, each new leader arrives and builds their own vision of the company based on what is important to them. “Ashneer had a different take on that, and I’m not saying right or wrong. You have to work on your vision for the business.”
On the results of the audits
Regarding the results of the Alvarez & Marsal and PwC audits, Sameer said: “It’s not as controversial as everyone thought. I think all that happened was basically an employee going a little crazy, which can happen to any company and happens in many companies. We just took notice of the problem and fixed it…No laws were broken.”
When asked how long founder and former CEO Ashneer Grover’s relationship as a shareholder would last, Sameer replied, “Forever.”
On the company’s IPO plan
Regarding the IPO, the CEO of BharatPe said that public companies go through a different level of scrutiny and most start-ups struggle to put things in place in the last three months before IPO. “We want to be proactive and so we do a few things for that. First, we want to strengthen our board, so we want to add more credible and independent board members. After the IPO, we need the board to have 50% independent members, so might as well go in that direction now,” he told Moneycontrol during the interview.
On product launches
He said the organization’s goal is now shifting from launching two products per quarter to just two to three products per year. “But launching products that really impact the consumer, help merchants and stay narrow. We decided not to try to become a super app like some of our competitors, but to have three to four product offerings.”
Sameer said the company initially had a vision that merchants could pay the company for two things – if BharatPe gave them credits for using the app which they could use as working capital, and second they brought customers to their stores. “We have lost track of the second; we never launched it because we always launched little incremental things. »
The CEO of BharatPe added that the start-up only wants to launch two products in the next year. “One is about car loans and the other is about helping merchants acquire customers.”
On business finance
Sameer said the company had a good run and ended March at around $16 billion in annualized total payment values (TPV) on the payments side. The company aims to double that figure to $30 billion in FY23. “Currently, we are facilitating loans worth around Rs 700 crore per month. We want to increase this to Rs 2,000 crore per month by next March.”
PostPe recorded POS of $50 million in FY22, making the company the third largest Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) player in the country after “Slice and Paytm Postpaid”. The company aims to increase it to $200 million by the end of the current fiscal year.
On the UPI business model
He said UPI is a customer acquisition funnel. It’s a weird business, where no business is making any revenue and that’s what we’re fighting for. “Because the use cases of all apps are very different. Paytm is a bit in our space and a bit in the consumer space, so maybe I can call them competition. But others aren’t. not.”
Sameer said the company does not need financing. “I still do two calls a day with investors, but they’re more relationship building calls. We’re well capitalized. I have $400 million in the bank. My monthly consumption is $4 million…And this is the case today, as we scale the business, we will become profitable. We want to aim for the IPO with a profitable P&L (profit and loss).”
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