Bootstrapping, Scaling Zerodha, Working with Family and Being Honest with Capital – turning down capital – Nithin Kamath of Zerodha Shares it all on this very first episode of Maharajas of Scale. Zerodha today has millions of users from its humble beginnings over a decade ago.
P.S: There is stuff you’ve never heard before.
00:01:05 Nithin Kamath talks about his bootstrapping journey. How the various jobs he held before launching Zerodha gave him deep insights into trader behaviour and expectations, which helped him build a brokerage that traders needed.
00:02:58 How the need for a low cost FNO trading platform provided Nithin an opportunity for his company.
00:04:43 The choice to start his company in Bangalore instead of Mumbai posed some challenges. But Nithin explains how Zerodha ended up being all the better for it.
00:07:43 Nithin talks about how raising money for a startup was hard in 2010, but fortunately, Zerodha got access to free technology which helped them survive and grow.
00:14:32 Currently Zerodha doesn’t face many new competitors, but Nithin wants the market to grow and new companies to come in. We talk about the challenges of foserting an investment mindset in India..
00:24:38 Nithin’s brother joined him as a trader at the age of sixteen. He explains how they divided up their specialities and how Nikhil keeps him grounded.
00:29:55 Zerodha’s work culture prizes attitude over ability. Nithin explains how important it is to find people who fit into the company, and how founders like him should always be flexible and open-minded.
00:34:12 Zerodha’s products are extremely user-friendly in a market where quality is rarely high. Nithin tells us how he beta-tests all his products himself.
00:40:06 We talk about how Zerodha’s userbase has changed from its initial days. It started as an FNO brokerage firm, but now their users are mostly first time investors. Adhaar simplified KYC and made user acquisition much simpler. We discuss why its worth saving the card.
00:45:08 Nithin rues that Indians don’t have a good education on handling their money. His initiative, Varcity, tries to promote investment knowledge in the younger generations.
00:48:30 The difficulty of recruiting employees for startup when fresh graduates look to MNCs for stability. Nithin gives advice to young men and women starting out in this field.
00:51:29 Nithin had faced many financial disappointments before Zerodha. He talks about how he shrugged off the failures and soldiered on. And, how he runs Zerodha aggressively as well as conservatively.
00:55:41 Innovation needs regulation. Nithin explains that his litmus test for whether a product will survive is the reaction of the regulatory bodies.
00:57:23 At a time when large corporations are closing up their database to startups, Zerodha invites smaller companies to come and leverage on their userbase. Nithin talks about the benefits of this strategy for their users and how keeping out third party investors helped let them make these decisions.
01:00:48 We talk a little about what the real Nithin Kamath is like when he’s not working.
01:03:19 What’s next for Nithin and Zerodha? Nithin believes that India relies far too much on foreign money and Indians invest too much in gold and real estate. He looks forward to a time when India invests in its own growth and he wants to be enabling that future.
Zerodha is slowly and surely changing the way young Indians Invest. With products such as Coin, Kite, Small Case, Zerodha Varsity and their rain matters initiative about bringing interesting products that would make their users invest better, Zerodha is redefining its space. This is their story with lots of interesting things that Nithin has never said before in a public forum.