With only 2 percent of India’s population investing in stock markets, a significant addressable market opportunity lies ahead for the Fintech players. A recent SBI report stated that amidst the low-interest backdrop and a gradual increase in global liquidity, people’s interest in stocks and trading has shot up, with reasons for investment ranging from general and long-term to specific and spontaneous. To pull the massive percentage of potential-but-skeptical investors, Upstox owner Ravi Kumar aspires to develop reliable trading platforms that can motivate everyone to plunge into the world of digital investing.
RAVI KUMAR EDUCATION
Upstox founder Ravi was brought up in the US and developed an early interest in the stock market. He has been an avid stock trader right from the age of 16. His love for trading was such that during his lunch breaks in high school, he used to dial up his home and guide his family members on how to place stock purchase orders. After completing his Computer Science degree from the University of California-Irvine, he took a job at Thinkorswim trading platform, a flagship of TD Ameritrade.
Soon after, he and his brother, Raghu, started an automated proprietary trading desk in Chicago. The business fared well, but the US market crash of 2008 made him shift his focus to India. The untapped potential of the Indian trading market was the key cornerstone of Ravi’s dreams. In 2009, along with his brothers- Raghu and Shrini, he co-founded Upstox (the then RKSV securities) in Delhi, intending to provide an investment opportunity platform to retail traders and investors in India. They expanded their office in Mumbai and have not looked back ever since. The firm’s current customer base is 9 million, and 85% of its investors come from tier 2 and 3 cities.
“India’s GDP is projected to grow at 6.8% (more than double of US & China); perhaps, why the IMF has called India a ‘bright spot.’ Couple that with the government’s push to make the country a USD 5 trillion economy by 2026-27, and you can’t but agree, this is an economy you should be investing in.”
With an exuberant zeal to excel and the thirst to boost the financial literacy of India, Ravi and his team waded through quite a lot of challenges to pull Upstox from the 47th position to the second-largest stock brokerage firm in India. The company also managed to grab the attention of industry giant Ratan Tata, who is now an investor in the company.
Elaborating on his vision, Ravi Kumar, Upstox, states, “When we look at an average Indian customer today, we see a massive gap — on the trading and investment front, the ease of use, and just managing their finances overall. So we see this as an opportunity to help them invest their wealth in a better way.”
Upstox received MCX’s (Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited) Most Promising Broking House of the Year award in 2019. It is one of the first brokerage firms to open entirely online Demat accounts. In 2018, the firm came up with an Electronic Delivery Instruction Slip (e-DIS), which eliminates the need for a physical slip or power of attorney, allowing customers to sell stocks in real-time. Upstox was also the first firm to launch unlimited trading plans at a fixed price.
UPSTOX FOUNDER NET WORTH
To become a company that is more inclusive of a diversified customer base, Upstox collaborated with the Indian Premier League in 2021. This helped them quickly add a million more customers in just a month, and Upstox became a well-known brand. In addition, the leading investment firm, Tiger Global, has pledged to invest $25 million, taking the company’s net worth to $3.4 billion. As a result, the firm is now valued more than its rivals Zerodha and Groww.
The company has a current user base of 10 million and expects to reach the target of 25-30 million by the end of FY23.
With the ongoing upward socio-economic mobility of Indians, it is evident that sound financial management practices are going mainstream in Indian society. As a result, India looks set to embark on a path of becoming a hub of the fintech revolution. An encouraging environment of financial education and investment, coupled with India’s aspirational demography will play an enabling role in that reality.