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ZestMoney Founders Step Down in Wake of Failed PhonePe Acquisition Deal

Failed Acquisition and Workforce Changes: What's Next for ZestMoney's Fintech Journey?

16 May 2023

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Kunal Tyagi

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  • ZestMoney, a fintech startup backed by Goldman Sachs, has undergone a leadership shakeup with the resignation of all three co-founders.

  • Internal appointments have been made to fill the leadership vacuum, with Mohit Chhajer, Mandar Satpute, and Abhishek Sharma taking charge of the company.

  • The departure of the co-founders follows the failure of an acquisition deal with PhonePe, adding to ZestMoney's challenges in securing fresh capital and stabilizing its workforce.

ZestMoney, a prominent fintech startup backed by Goldman Sachs, has recently experienced a significant leadership shakeup. Following the resignation of all three co-founders, the company has swiftly appointed a new leadership team from within its ranks. The departure of Lizzie Chapman, Priya Sharma, and Ashish Anantharaman has raised questions about the future of ZestMoney, especially after a failed acquisition deal with PhonePe. This blog post explores the circumstances surrounding the co-founders' resignations and the subsequent appointment of new leaders.


After a successful journey of building and scaling ZestMoney into India's largest digital lending franchise, the outgoing co-founders expressed confidence in the potential of the company and its dedicated team. In a LinkedIn post, former co-founder Lizzie Chapman announced that Mohit Chhajer, Mandar Satpute, and Abhishek Sharma would lead the company forward. These internal appointments are aimed at ensuring a smooth transition and capitalizing on the vast opportunity that lies ahead.


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The departure of ZestMoney's co-founders comes on the heels of a highly anticipated acquisition deal with PhonePe falling through. The Walmart-backed fintech giant had been in talks to acquire ZestMoney for a substantial sum since November 2022. However, the value faced challenges during the due diligence process, resulting in PhonePe ultimately walking away from the agreement. The failed acquisition added to ZestMoney's existing struggles, including the need for fresh capital.


ZestMoney's challenges have not been limited to leadership transitions and failed acquisition deals. The company recently faced the difficult task of downsizing its workforce, resulting in the layoff of approximately 20% of its employees. The departure of key leaders and workforce reduction have created uncertainty among the remaining employees, leaving them to navigate through a period of change and adapt to the new leadership team's vision.


ZestMoney's financial performance has been a mixed bag. At the same time,e the company reported a significant increase in revenue during the fiscal year ending March 2022, losses more than doubled during the same period. The failed acquisition and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lending landscape have undoubtedly influenced the company's financials. As ZestMoney embarks on a new chapter with its fresh leadership team, the focus will likely be on optimizing its operations, strengthening risk management practices, and pursuing avenues for sustainable growth.


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