At Razorpay, we thrive on a culture where people are always excited to exchange and discuss ideas and this is not only restricted to people within the company; from time to time we invite fellow startups and industry experts to share their valuable experiences and insights.
One such session was with the Founder and CEO of Zerodha, Nithin Kamath. Nithin started Zerodha, the groundbreaking Indian stock broking platform in 2010 with the vision of breaking all barriers that traders and investors face in India.
The event was hosted by Siddharth Dhamija, Chief Growth Officer at Razorpay and was held on 3rd December 2016, at the Razorpay headquarters in Bangalore. The event was a good platform where interesting ideas about the fintech market and investment opportunities in India were discussed and debated upon.
Here is a quick recap of the Q&A session between Nithin and Siddharth:
Siddharth: Why did you choose to bootstrap your company?
Nithin When I started Zerodha, it was impossible to raise money from banks without providing any collateral security. In addition, India did not have a good climate for raising VC funds when I started Zerodha. But in the hindsight it was a blessing; if I were to start the company today, I would not do it differently.
Siddharth: What are some interesting investing opportunities for young Indians?
Nithin: Investing is always a good practice. It is better to invest than have money lying around in the bank. Mutual funds are a good place to start investing, as direct investing might require some practice and in-depth knowledge. An important tip is to trade with the money that you are comfortable losing, not something that will cause panic and distress if things don’t go well.
Siddharth: What are some tips on investing for businesses?
Nithin: Businesses that have a good edge over competition and has a higher chance of winning is a good bet to make investments in. Also, businesses which strategically help your own business grow is definitely a worthy investment. For instance, for a consumer based business, any strategic alliance that will help acquire a large volume of new users is a good place to start.
Siddharth: How was Zerodha’s marketing different from others?
Nithin: Zerodha was unique in the way that it did not spend on paid marketing, instead it invested significant time and effort on imparting value to customers through blogs and forums.
Siddharth: What are the biggest impediments to the growth of fintech companies?
Nithin: Currently infrastructure is the biggest roadblock for the growth of fintech companies. For instance, poor internet connectivity and slow internet speeds often deter people from exploring opportunities online.
Siddharth: Will demonetization affect fintech companies?
Nithin: Quite the contrary, with the demonetisation, people are likely to have more money in the bank and hence will look for places where they can invest or spend that money online. So, demonetization will not impact investments made by people.
Siddharth: Normally companies do not incubate other startups, however, Zerodha’s Rainmatter incubates other startups? Why?
Nithin: I believe that companies are not disrupted by other big companies, but by techies sitting out of their own homes. This is why I believe that we should incubate startups and provide them a good ecosystem to build and grow. Perhaps some day in the future, a company you incubate can be strategically valuable to your own company, hence I believe in incubating startups.
This event provided a great platform for people at Razorpay to personally interact and get first hand insights from Nithin about his personal journey from being an avid trader to setting up one of India’s largest trading platform. The formal Q&A session was followed by an open house where Nithin answered impromptu questions from the audience.