By Shreya Sharma Last Updated:
The MD and Co-founder of BharatPe, Ashneer Grover is one of the judges on the popular reality show, Shark Tank India. Ashneer has become a social media sensation for his unfiltered opinions on the reality show, and for the way he yells at the contestants for their startup ideas. His punch lines have been trending on the internet, and people find a role model in him. He had co-founded BharatPe in 2018 and has invested in many other small startups. While Ashneer is definitely a shark when it comes to investors in the country, his wife, Madhuri Jain Grover’s role in his success can never be neglected.
For the unversed, Ashneer Grover had got married to an entrepreneur, Madhuri Jain on July 4, 2006, whom he had met 15 years ago at Career Launcher. The couple is blessed with two kids, a son named Avy and a daughter named Mannat. Their social media handles are filled with their family pictures from various vacations. While Ashneer’s success story is well known to the world now, we are here to talk about how his wife, Madhuri supported him through his transition phase and helped him grow an empire worth approximately Rs. 21,000 crores.
Before getting into how his wife, Madhuri Jain Grover helped him succeed in life, let’s get to know the shark, Ashneer Grover, a bit better. Ashneer’s father is a Chartered Accountant and his mother is a teacher, so he belonged to an economically sufficient family. He did his B. Tech in Civil Engineering from IIT Delhi and had completed his MBA from IIM Ahmedabad in 2006. He got his first job at Kotak Investment Banking as the Vice President and had worked there for seven years.
Later, in 2013, Ashneer had joined American Express as the Director of Corporate Development, which is like a dream job for many MBA graduates. However, he had other plans as he wanted to join a start-up and learn the basics of business from them. Leaving his job in Amex, he had joined Grofers despite having a lack of support from his family as his parents wanted a secure future for him. However, it was his wife, Madhuri, who had supported him, keeping faith in his confidence. Thus, Ashneer had joined Grofers as a core team member in 2015. Joining Grofers was a learning curve for him as it gave him the exposure he had needed and had created a healthy network of investors.
After working for a few years at Grofers, Ashneer had decided to leave the company, and his family was against his idea. However, he did what he wanted to do, and joined PC Jeweller Ltd in November 2017 as Head of New Business. He helped the company with payment strategies, and while working on the same, the idea of BharatPe had triggered him and taking a leap of faith, he had quit his job at PC Jeweller Ltd.
In 2018, when Ashneer had started working for the BharatPe project, he could not afford many employees. It was after the seed funding that his responsibilities had increased and his wife, Madhuri Jain Grover had decided to join the company and manage things like finance control, banking, and HR in 2019. While initially, things were challenging, Ashneer and Madhuri’s startup had become a huge success in less than a year. In October 2018, Ashneer had launched BharatPe with less than 20 employees, and now the firm is successfully established in 13 different cities. The BharatPe’s network has been increasing drastically.
For the unversed, Madhuri Jain Grover is a NIFT-Delhi graduate and a designer by profession. She has worked with firms like Satya Paul and Alok Industries and runs her furnishing business called Mauve and Brown. In 2019, when BharatPe needed more employees, Madhuri had joined her husband’s organisation to help him with internal functions. At present, she heads the HR and Finance at BharatPe, and is using her skills for the success of the organisation. In a conversation with Her Story in 2019, Madhuri Jain Grover had recalled what had triggered her to join BharatPe. Recalling how Ashneer had told her that his company could not afford many employees for internal functions, Madhuri had said:
“During our daily walks at Siri Fort in the mornings, after dropping the kids to school, was a kind of download time where we used to discuss what's happening. During one of these conversations, Ashneer shared how they couldn't afford many employees for internal functions since the company was in the mid of a fundraise. I could sense that Ashneer and BharatPe needed help. Since I was running my business more on the model of a walk-in studio, which isn't a day-long job, I suggested that I could help. And when I joined, I could feel how the company needed someone senior who can take charge of various internal functions. After the seed round happened and in between till series A happened, I slowly took charge of all these verticals – Finance control, banking HR, Purchase, vendor payouts. Things were challenging, but within a few days, I sorted everything.”
Madhuri had also talked about how difficult it would get to work with your spouse at times as they had started discussing their work at home, which would lead to conflicts. However, later, Madhuri and Ashneer had decided not to bring the office stress to home, making it easy for them to work together. She had mentioned:
"When I joined Ashneer, there were a lot of challenges at the office which needed attention and resolution. We used to discuss work at home. And that many times led to conflicts which would have remained had I not spoken about them. I remember instances when I thought of reconsidering. But the mantra is to have a clear line of demarcation and not bring work to home at all. The time is crucial as the venture is in the growth phase. Ashneer’s schedules are erratic, and I feel that it is I who has to step up and take charge, and I have a lot of support of my in laws, which helps a lot.”
Just like any parents, Ashneer Grover’s parents too wanted him to have a secure future and settle down for a job. Thus, Ashneer’s transition phase had come as a shock for them. In the same interview, his wife, Madhuri had also recalled how Ashneer’s family wasn’t too happy with his decision to join Grofers, leaving Amex, and how she, too, was a bit sceptical of her husband’s decision. She had shared:
"Our parents are from an academic background; my father-in-law is a Chartered Accountant and mother-in-law, a teacher. For them, Amex was a dream job, so they had their questions. At that time, not just family but even I was sceptical and not very convinced about him joining Grofers. But Ashneer was determined because the startup ecosystem was growing and there were lots of new ideas getting launched in various startups. He wanted to do something different more than what a corporate job expected him. We all understood that the path may not be smooth and may have a lot of risks. But since he was determined, there was no question of not supporting him.”
When asked if Ashneer’s transition period was difficult to handle for her and their family, Madhuri shared that when he had left Grofers, his family was shocked. Sharing that though their family was shocked, she wasn’t worried and only wanted that her husband gets what he was looking for, Madhuri had added:
“Being a part of the core team at Grofers gave Ashneer exposure to the startup ecosystem and an opportunity to experience about building a team. He met investors and made a vast network. But the decision to leave Grofers was a shock for the family. Parents had apprehensions, but I wasn’t worried. I knew it was just a matter of time. The only concern I had was Ashneer should get what he was looking for. It wasn't an easy phase since negotiations become challenging when one is looking for opportunities without something in hand.”
In the same interview, Madhuri was asked about their kids’ reaction to their parents working together, and their business, BharatPe. She had shared that their son, Avy is more interested in their business, and feels the pulse of it. Sharing that their kids feel connected with BharatPe in their own way and are proud of it, Madhuri had mentioned:
"My children, especially the elder one, completely feels the pulse of it. There have been times when my children and I have pasted BharatPe stickers at the merchant outlets. It so happened that recently when at one such restaurant where my son had pasted it, he didn't see it next time we visited it. He not just observed it but also urged me to check on why it wasn't there. He had several questions – who would have taken it out and why. I guess in their own ways they also feel connected to BharatPe and are proud of it."
Madhuri had also recalled a cute conversation she had with her son, Avy, showcasing how proud he is of his parent’s company and hard work. She had shared:
“Our nine-year-old son is a big fan of Ronaldo and one day he came and asked me, "Mom, what do we call Spain in Spanish?”, "Espania", “Okay, so one day I shall open EspaniaPe in Spain like Papa’s BharatPe in India."”
In 2021, Ashneer Grover had won the Entrepreneur of the year award and his company, BharatPe had won the emerging company of the year award. In 2021, he was also listed in the 40 Under 40 India’s brightest young business minds by Fortune India. According to GQ Indi, BharatPe’s MD and Co-Founder, Ashneer Grover’s net worth is estimated to be Rs. 21,300 crores. According to an official YT page, Cars For You, Ashneer Grover owns a Porsche 718 Cayman, which costs Rs. 1.24 crores, an Audi A6 which costs Rs. 64.70 lakh, a Mercedes Maybach S650, which costs Rs. 2.78 crores, a Mercedes E220D, which costs Rs. 70.49 lakh, and a Mercedes GLS 350D, which costs Rs. 88.18 lakh.
In January 2022, an audiotape of Ashneer Grover allegedly threatening and hurling abuses at a Kotak Mahindra Bank employee was released on Twitter. In the audio, his wife, Madhuri Jain Grover, too, could be heard shouting at the employee. Later, in a tweet, Ashneer had called the video as fake and had claimed that some scamster was trying to extort funds USD 2,40,000 bitcoins, and he had refused to pay.
According to the bank, Ashneer and his wife, Madhuri had threatened the employee because in 2021 the bank had refused to give shares worth Rs. 500 crores to them during the launch of Nykaa’s IPO. After this, the bank had also claimed that Ashneer had sent a legal notice to them, stating that their refusal to participate in Nykaa’s IPO had led them to lose an investment opportunity.
A few days after the viral clip, Ashneer had taken a voluntary leave till March-end. Later, his wife, Madhuri had also reportedly gone on a leave of absence. In an interview with Money Control, Ashneer has shared that he will leave BharatPe only if the investors buy out his 9.5% stake, at a valuation of $6 billion, which converts to Rs. 4,000 crores.
Well, Ashneer Grover and Madhuri Jain Grover’s story totally makes us believe in the phrase, “Behind every successful man, there is a woman.” It was Ashneer’s willingness to do more than the ordinary and Madhuri’s strong will to support her husband no matter what, that has made them a power couple in the business world.