Through launching Zerodha in the middle of a market slump in 2010, Nithin Kamath, with a sharp mind at trading stocks, took the biggest risk in his career. After a crash the year before, markets were in crisis and most brokers turned to different things. Nithin, however, felt there was a need for a simple online service that eliminated barriers for people who wanted to try their hands to invest. He bootstrapped Zerodha, a zero match, and the Sanskrit word ‘ rodha,’ meaning barriers. Through introducing the discount broking model, Zerodha broke the Indian stock broking industry mold, charging up to Rs 20 on futures, options, and intra-day trades.
Nithin felt burnt out after trading full-time for more than a decade and decided to take a break and become a broker, while his brother continued to trade. In his years on the capital markets, he noticed there was a huge disconnect between brokerages that had online platforms but needed hundreds of offline branches, traders, executives, and heads to support a fast-growing digital network. Nithin thought that the market needed another kind of broker, one he never met during his trading years. That was the spark Zerodha created in 2010.
The business model, he notes, wasn’t exactly groundbreaking. For each exchange, Zerodha charges a flat rate, and that model has already taken off in the United States. Nobody in India had done it yet, but at that time between 2009 and 2010-nobody was doing a lot on the markets anyway. Their concept was simple: provide a fast and reliable portal, stay online-only, and allow customers to take advantage of lower costs.
Zerodha was founded in 2010 and is known for its model and technology of discount pricing. It is headquartered in Bangalore and has a physical presence in all major cities in India.
As of 2019, by an active customer base, Zerodha is India’s largest retail stockbroker and contributes more than 2 percent of daily retail volumes across Indian stock exchanges.
The company claims to be “India’s first discount brokerage” having debuted the “discount broking” model in India that is popular in developed markets. The model exempts customers from any broking charges on trades and transactions and favors traders who take large futures contracts and options provisions.
Instead, a flat fee of a maximum of Rs 20 is applied to trade, irrespective of its size. In December 2015, Zerodha became the first Indian stock broker to offer brokerage and commission-free equity investments. In addition, it offers an array of purpose-built trading applications to its retail customers
Zerodha has a client base of nine lakh customers. The company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Zerodha Commodities Pvt, provides commodity trading. Ltd. In the “Bootstrap Champ” category, it won the “Economic Times Startup Awards 2016.” The firm has received the 2014 and 2015 BSE-D&B’ Emerging Equity Broking House Award’ and the 2018 NSE ‘The Year’s Retail Broker’ award.
Kamath is among one of the youngest billionaires in India and Zerodha stands as one of the leaders of the broking industry.
We congratulate Nithin on his amazing journey from Trade Broker to one of the youngest billionaires in India.