BharatPe CEO Suhail Sameer said that the whole Ashneer Grover-BharatPe affair was a matter of building up with an employee, which can happen across multiple companies, and the company is taking steps to ensure that such incidents don’t happen again.
Speaking about the culture of the start-up, Sameer said that despite all the uproar about the culture, the company’s job loss rate is among the lowest in the industry. “Part of him was probably inspired by the beauty of the business and the excitement that surrounds it. It has remained consistently high as our business is growing month by month.”
In an interview with Moneycontrol, he said that the company has to take some steps to change some things in how people perceive the organization and how excited they are to work beyond BharatPe’s enthusiasm as a company. “We began by announcing that every employee of our company would be part of an Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP), regardless of position.”
He added that the company has also included basic hygiene items like wellness, gym membership, change in insurance coverage, etc. “These are little things to build trust.”
Changes in company culture
Sameer said some parts of the changes were already in the works. But, every new leader comes along and forms their own view of the company which is important to them. “Ashneer had a different view on this, and I am not saying what is right or what is wrong. You have to work towards your vision of the company.”
on the results of the audit
On the outcome of the audit by Alvarez & Marsal and PwC, Sameer said, “It is not as controversial as everyone thought. I think what happened was basically an employee getting a little different, which can happen to any company and happens to a lot of companies. We just looked into the issue and resolved it… no law was broken.”
Asked how long its founder and former managing director Ashneer Grover’s relationship as a shareholder would continue, Sameer replied, “Always”.
On company’s IPO plan
Regarding IPOs, the BharatPe CEO said that public companies go through varying levels of scrutiny and most start-ups scramble to keep things in place in the last three months before the IPO. “We want to be proactive and that’s why we are doing a few things for that. One, we want to strengthen our board, so we want to add more credible and independent board members. After the IPO, we need a board to have 50 percent independent members, so we can still move in that direction,” he told Moneycontrol in an interview.
at product launch
He said that the focus of the organization is now shifting from launching two products every quarter to only two-three products in a year. “But launching products that are really impactful to the consumer helps merchants and keep it narrow. We decided not to try to be a super app like some of our competitors, but have introduced three-four products.”
Sameer said the company initially had a vision that merchants could pay the company for two things – if BharatPe gives them credit for using the app which they can use as working capital, and another If they take customers to their shops. “We’ve lost the second track; we never launched it because we were always launching incremental little things.”
The BharatPe CEO said the start-up is looking to launch only two products in the next one year. “One is auto loans and the other, we want to help merchants acquire customers.”
on business financial
Sameer said the company has been performing well and has exited March at around USD 16 billion in Annual Total Payment Values (TPV) on the payments side. The company aims to double this to US$30 billion in FY13. “At present, we provide loan facilities of around Rs 700 crore a month. We want to take it to Rs 2,000 crore every month by next March.
Postpay saw TPV of USD 50 million in FY22, which makes the company the third largest Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) player in the country after ‘Slice and Paytm Postpaid’. The company aims to increase this to $200 million by the end of the current fiscal.
On UPI Business Model
He said UPI is a customer acquisition funnel. It’s a weird business where a company doesn’t make any revenue and that’s what we’re fighting for. “Because all the apps have very different use cases. Paytm is a little bit in our space and a little bit in the consumer space, so maybe I can call them competition. But others are not.”
Sameer said the company does not need funding. “I still do two calls a day with investors but these are like relationship building calls. We are well capitalised. I have 400 million USD in the bank. My monthly burn is 4 million USD.. .And, this is the case today, as we scale up the business, we will become profitable. We want to go for IPO with a profitable P&L (Profit and Loss).”