Ashneer Grover’s ‘investors-free’ startup: Third Unicorn

Ashneer Grover finally launched his new startup called 'Third Unicorn' along with his wife Madhuri Jain. This startup will not be backed by investors. At a time when Indian startups are seeking to raise more funds from investors to attract talent by offering mind-boggling payouts, Ashneer has some other plans.

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[UPDATE]: Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain founded their new startup known as Third Unicorn Private Limited. The company is incorporated on July 6, 2022. Currently, the newly-formed startup has no directors other than Ashneer and Madhuri.

On his birthday, June 14, 2022, the former co-founder and managing director of BharatPe tweeted the name of his startup. It is important to note that Ashneer Grover’s new startup will not be backed by investors.

One of the highly popular startup entrepreneurs, who recently attracted millions of eyeballs, albeit for all wrong reasons, is back in the limelight again. Ashneer Grover, the co-founder of BharatPe, is gearing up for his next venture but would stay away from investors.

BharatPe recently came down heavily on Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain Grover over “extensive misappropriation” of company funds and using the “company expense account” to “enrich themselves” and fund lavish lifestyles. Both Ashneer and Madhuri were stripped of all company titles.

During the TiECon-2022 entrepreneurial and start-up event held in Chandigarh, Grover stated that he wanted to launch his own venture by infusing his own money and making it financially viable.

Grover, who was among the panelists at the event, stated that he didn’t want to return to investors ever. He expressed his displeasure towards the way BhartPe handled the allegations, and once again took a dig at the company he was fired from, by stating that the BharatPe dispute was a “badly fought corporate fight”.

Last month, Ashneer threatened to sue BharatPe CEO Suhail Sameer, as well as the board, for his comments made on LinkedIn about his sister Ashima Grover. He also sought resignation from Bharatpe’s Chairman Rajnish Kumar.

Ashneer wrote to the BharatPe board, stating that Sameer should be served with a show-cause notice for his deplorable public behavior and must be sent on leave immediately to deal with the damage to the Company’s Brand.

The letter was sent to investors of the company, as well as Chairman Kumar, CEO Sameer, and Shahshvat Nakrani, co-founder.

Of late Indian startup ecosystem is shaken by a number of incidents similar to BharatPe.

If the Ashneer-BharatPe scandal was not enough to shake the confidence of investors in the Indian startup ecosystem, the ongoing fight between the ousted CEO Ankita Bose and the management of Zilingo, a Singapore-based fashion-tech startup, have raised a big question on the corporate governance of the Indian startup ecosystem. Interestingly, both BharatPe and Zilingo, are backed by Sequoia Capital.

Alarmed by recent fraud allegations at some of its portfolio startups’, Sequoia Capital India stated that it will continue to respond vigorously when it encounters “willful fraud or misconduct” and will take tough action whenever necessary.

Both Zilingo and BharatPe attracted enough bad PR to crush their future prospects. Many experts now believe that such incidents have exposed the level of FOMO seeded among the investors who have totally turned a blind eye towards the due diligence required at startups at regular intervals.

India is going through a talent war, and startups are banking big time on investors’ money and are bound to offer mind-boggling packages to attract talents. Ashneer Grover didn’t reveal more beans about his next venture, but it would be interesting to see what strategies and moves to overcome these challenges while being in a bootstrapped mode.


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