The Weekend Leader - How Neha Juneja Built a Rs 120 Crore Empire with IndiaP2P and Greenway Stoves

How an Army Brat Became a Serial Entrepreneur with a Rs 120 Crore Business

Shyla F   |  


Vol 15 | Issue 19

Life held its share of surprises for serial entrepreneur Neha Juneja, whose businesses now boast a cumulative turnover of Rs. 120 crore. Her first venture was an F&O trading website, a consumer-facing platform designed for derivative trading by retail investors.

Her second startup, Greenway Stoves, ventured into the clean energy sector, where she designed fuel-efficient, eco-friendly, and affordable cooking stoves for rural areas, offering a safer alternative to traditional mud stoves.

Neha Juneja started her first venture along with three friends while she was doing her MBA (Photos: Special Arrangement) 

Neha’s latest venture, IndiaP2P, has made a mark in the financial sector by helping women who own small businesses in rural and semi-urban areas. It operates on a microfinance model that enables individual lenders to invest in women-led MSMEs in these areas.

Founded in 2021, IndiaP2P - short form of India Peer-to-Peer Lending - is headquartered in Khar, a suburb of Mumbai.

The company employs a team of 71 who handle a variety of responsibilities, such as managing the website, conducting KYC verifications, and providing support to both lenders and investors.

Neha conceived the idea for IndiaP2P when she learned that the Reserve Bank of India had permitted individuals to lend directly to beneficiaries.

At the heart of IndiaP2P is the Grameen Bank model, pioneered by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning social entrepreneur and banker, Mohammad Yunus from Bangladesh, who introduced the concepts of microcredit and microfinance.

“Research consistently indicates that women are reliable, punctual, and disciplined in repaying loans. Despite these qualities, women are frequently marginalised within India's financial sector,” points out Neha.

Neha studied in several schools since her father served in the army in different places

Neha, 39 was born in Pathankot. Her father retired as a Colonel from the Indian army, while her mother has been a housewife. As an army brat, Neha attended 11 different schools before earning her B.Tech in Industrial Engineering from Delhi Technical University in 2006, followed by an MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi, in 2008.

The genesis of Neha's entrepreneurial journey began in 2007 during her MBA when she and three of her college friends, Ankit Mathur, Satvik Upadhyaya, and Shoeb Kazi launched their first venture— an F&O (Futures and Options) trading website based in Delhi.

Futures and Options are types of financial derivatives where traders can buy or sell an underlying asset at a predetermined price. This platform provided retail investors with insights into the potential future performance of various companies.

For instance, if an investor holds Reliance stock today, the F&O platform could offer predictions on its likely performance in the near future, thereby informing the investor whether it might be wise to sell or acquire additional shares.

"We invested around Rs. 4-5 lakh in this business. It was an exciting time, with the financial markets buoyant and new internet-based consumer businesses emerging," Neha reminisces about the early days.

However, Neha and her friends were forced to shut down their business due to the economic downturn. "The website was doing well as we all were working for it, but then we had to close it in early 2009 because of the recession," shares Neha.

The friends then brainstormed their next project, aiming to create something widely used and beneficial to the masses. That’s how they decided to develop a stove that was energy-efficient and less harmful to both health and the environment.

Neha with an IndiaP2P borrower 

Neha took the lead in designing a stove that used just 20% of the fuel required by traditional mud stoves and secured a patent for her innovative design.

The Greenway Smart Stove is a single-burner, high-efficiency cooking stove that operates on all forms of solid biomass fuels such as wood, dry dung, crop waste, coconut waste, and bamboo.

It is portable and available in two sizes—the regular version for typical family use and a jumbo stove designed for larger families or for bulk cooking. The regular Greenway Smart Stove is priced at Rs. 2499, while the jumbo model costs Rs. 3499.

Employing a microfinance model, Greenway has established a network of distributors and retailers, predominantly women, enhancing their economic opportunities. Over the years, Greenway stoves have helped mitigate an estimated 12 million tonnes of carbon emissions.

Greenway was founded in Mumbai, where it is also headquartered. In 2014-15, Neha successfully raised funds from a venture capitalist to establish a factory in Vadodara.

The company has grown substantially, now employing over 700 people. To date, approximately 35 lakh Greenway stoves have been sold to rural families not only in India but also in parts of Africa and South Asia.

In India, Greenway's operations cover Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan.

"Our stoves are built with our patented air regulation technology that significantly reduces emissions of noxious carbon monoxide, black carbon, particulate matter, and greenhouse gases,” explains Neha. “This leads to better health, cost savings, effective climate change mitigation, and greater everyday convenience for users."

The Greenway founders have recently secured Rs. 50 crore from the Asian Development Bank and are in the process of establishing a new factory. Currently, Greenway has the capacity to produce 2 million units, but with the new factory, they plan to triple this production capability.

A woman beneficiary of the IndiaP2P platform seen with Neha and her team members

In 2021, Neha and her team launched IndiaP2P, a platform providing loans predominantly to working women or those with any form of income, whether it’s from a rental property, photocopy shop, stationery shop, tailoring unit, coaching class, or beauty parlour.

“If a woman has a great business idea, IndiaP2P is more than happy to support her financially. All loan disbursements are digital and are transferred directly into the borrower’s verified bank account. So far, we have extended loans to 55,000 women,” Neha explains.

IndiaP2P employs agents who connect with women entrepreneurs in rural areas. These agents conduct thorough business inspections and assess the entrepreneur’s creditworthiness or CIBIL score, which provides a clear picture of their repayment history and the age of their business.

Based on these assessments, women are assigned ratings from A to D, with A being the highest and D the lowest. This rating system ensures that women with a solid repayment history are recognised with an A rating.

The platform allows women entrepreneurs to borrow amounts ranging from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 1 lakh, for terms ranging from 9 to 24 months. The average loan amount disbursed by IndiaP2P is Rs. 45,000. IndiaP2P charges an interest rate of 17% on a reducing balance basis, with repayments scheduled monthly.

They occasionally receive unique loan applications. An interesting case was a woman painter who requested Rs. 80,000 for a high-quality colour printer, much pricier than typical models.

She explained that by creating miniature prints of her large canvases, she could sell them more easily online, thus generating more profit from a single artwork. Neha’s team supported this innovative approach, helping her secure the necessary funds.

Lending with IndiaP2P is straightforward: investors visit the website, register, complete instant KYC verification, and choose borrowers from categories A to D. They can invest between Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 5 lakh with a one-year lock-in period, after which they can withdraw their funds.

Investors can also select their investment duration and location. Importantly, IndiaP2P ensures that no personal information or photos of the lenders are shared with investors.

Neha with the other co-founders of IndiaP2P, Mohit Gupta and Ravinder Voomidisingh

Investors have two funding options. The first is a regular income plan that offers a fixed monthly interest rate of 16%, where the principal is reinvested, and the interest is transferred to their bank account. The second is a growth plan with an 18% interest rate, applying a compound interest strategy where both principal and repayments are reinvested for higher returns.

IndiaP2P generates revenue by charging a Rs. 250 loan approval fee, which is waived if the application is not approved, and by collecting a processing fee of 1 to 1.5% from the lender, which supports the maintenance of the digital platform.

On the personal front, Neha is single and lives in Mumbai, while her parents reside in New Delhi.

"My day begins with a quick review of global, local, and business news; then I am off to the office. As an entrepreneur, the workday is always interesting and somewhat uncertain with new problems and opportunities coming up every day,” she shares.

“There is also some work-related travel every two weeks or so as our operations and users are spread all across the country. This bit is also invigorating. I try to squeeze in a few yoga classes every week. Also, I watch and read most sci-fi offerings available.” - ©TWL

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