Sumeet Singh, a partner in the general corporate practice at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co (SAM) in New Delhi, is leaving the firm to take up a role that combines legal and business functions at fintech startup BharatPe.
He joins the company as general counsel and head of corporate strategy. “It is not common for a lawyer to be offered a business role,” Singh told India Business Law Journal. “Having discussed my role and involvement with [co-founder and CEO] Ashneer [Grover], I decided to take the plunge.”
Singh got to know Grover when the BharatPe chief was CFO at online grocery delivery company Grofers, where Singh had been an adviser since the company’s early days. “I worked closely with him on all of their fundraising rounds during his stint at Grofers,” he says.
Singh’s focus will be to navigate BharatPe through the highly regulated fintech sector, leading the fundraising activity both on the equity and debt side, as well as working on strategic future partnerships, acquisitions and investments.
Singh joined SAM in 2013 from AZB & Partners, and had also previously worked with DSK Legal.
“Life at a law firm is rewarding,” he says. “However, India’s digital and startup ecosystem has progressed over the last few years, which I was lucky to witness closely as a venture capital lawyer. It has also brought with it several new opportunities.”
Singh has represented some of the country’s biggest e-commerce retail entities, financial companies and startups. Recently he was part of the core team to advise Reliance Retail Ventures in its acquisition of the retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing business of entrepreneur Kishore Biyani’s Future Group.
The deal is currently facing a challenge from Amazon, which has taken the dispute to the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.