We first met Bhavik Koladiya, co-founder of BharatPe, in February 2018 when he was raising their seed funding round. At the time, we were beginning the fundraise for Artha Venture Fund-I and the partners were still using their own money. BharatPe fell at the cusp of two of our investment themes. It touched upon our consumption enabler theme as the ease of making payments enables consumption. Most importantly, it perfectly matched our B2B investment theme—simplifying payment collection for merchants.
My team and I interacted with BharatPe over a few months and the investment opportunity was debated intensely within our conference rooms. Eventually, I could not see the massive data reservoir that was getting built from this simple QR code sticker at the point of sale. The real business opportunity was how BharatPe utilizes this simple mousetrap to create a large-moat of data which helps provide financial services to merchants. Unlike the other anti-portfolio companies that did not sting, this one did. There is always wisdom in hindsight, but I should have supported a founder such as Bhavik. The fire burning inside such founders only requires investors like me to dial up the intensity. In the cumbersome process of setting up the fund and raising money, I got limited face time with Bhavik. I failed at reading his passion and I did not dig deep into his vision. Most importantly, I missed out on reading Bhavik’s persistence, commitment, and politeness to feedback.
We took our time deliberating over his startup, but he was one of those founders that regularly sent updates on the phenomenal growth while we made him wait because of our internal debates. Today, I found Bhavik’s email to us announcing his first $2.3 million round and hoping to work with us in the future even after we had passed on the investment. BharatPe is on its way to being a behemoth in the payments and financial services space. Each time BharatPe climbs another rung of success, it will act as a reminder to us to choose passion and commitment over everything else.