ZestMoney founders resign in wake of failed sale

ZestMoney founders resign in wake of failed sale

The founders of ZestMoney have resigned weeks after the Indian BNPL firm's planned acquisition by Walmart-backed mobile payments giant PhonePe fell through.

CEO Lizzie Chapman, CFO and COO Priya Sharma and CTO Ashish Anantharaman have all stepped down, according to an email sent to staff, written by Chapman.

Says the email: "We have immense belief and faith in the potential that ZestMoney has. We will also ensure to provide full support to the incoming management team and do everything we can to support them for the next 4 months to ensure a smooth transition.

"Myself, Priya, and Ashish will continue to be significant shareholders in the company and therefore we will continue to be your biggest cheerleaders and supporters in every way."

PhonePe ditched a planned acquisition of ZestMoney over due diligence concerns, the Economic Times reported in April.

PhonePe walked away from a deal pegged at between $200 million and $300 million despite the fact it would have secured the company a long-coveted non-banking finance company licence.

Citing sources, the Economic Times says that PhonePe was concerned about ZestMoney's business model and debt liability, as well as India's increasing regulatory scrutiny of digital lenders.

Founded in 2015, ZestMoney had a $450 million valuation at its last funding round but has reportedly found it difficult raising fresh funds and has been actively looking to sell.

According to Mint, since March 170 ZestMoney staffers have moved to PhonePe, leaving the company with just 100 employees, down from a high of 500.

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