‘Investors from small towns too are attracted to discount broking’

Badri Narayanan KS Chennai | Updated on January 13, 2018

Amit Gupta, co-founder and CEO of TradingBells

Amit Gupta, co-founder and CEO of TradingBells, says the discount broking firm is on track with respect to targets. “Our current status suggests that we will eventually beat our three-yearly revenue targets at the current pace,” he said, adding that the one-year-old company is looking to raise seed funding to expand its offering and footprint across the country. Excerpts:

Recently, you raised ₹2 crore as seed funding from Swastika Investmart. Is that sufficient, or are you looking for more funds?

The seed funding from Swastika is being utilised to set up office and sales infrastructure and also for technology upgradation.

The stock broking industry is now heavily dependent on technology. Customer satisfaction now depends mainly on how efficient, fast, transparent and secure our trading systems are. The more we invest in sophisticated technology, the better it is for our customers.

We are different from other discount brokers in terms of the after-sales-support which cannot be neglected in the stock broking industry.

We already have a working business model and are in the growth stage. We would soon be looking for additional funds to scale up, keep upgrading our technology, propel at a greater pace and beat our own targets.

With competition hotting up even in the discount brokering space, do you see any slowdown in clients growth rate for TradingBells?

When we started our sales, it came to us as a pleasant surprise that a majority of our potential customers did not know about discount broking. Though competition in this space is hotting up, we still consider traditional brokerages and banks, which charge exorbitant brokerage fees, as our major competitors.

We are also getting a lot of traction from the customers of other discount brokerages who are unhappy with their service levels. There has been no slowdown since the time we started our operations. In fact, we are doubling our client base every month.

Throw some light on the profile of your retail investors/traders.

A majority of our clients are young and moderately experienced part-time traders from Tier-2 cities and smaller towns. The average age of our customers is 31 years. This information speaks a lot about the evolving trading and investment culture in India. The next generation traders and investors, even from small towns, are attracted to discount broking.

Internet penetration and mobile trading are supporting us. Furthermore, there are quite a few retired or semi-retired retail investors from the bigger cities who are benefitting from our zero brokerage offering in delivery-based long-term investments in shares, mutual funds & IPOs.

When you launched TradingBells in 2016, your aim was to reach one lakh customers and ₹45 crore in revenues in three years. What is the status now?

We are very well on track with respect to our targets. Our current status suggests that we will eventually beat our three-yearly revenue targets at the current pace. Online account opening with e-KYC will be rolled out in the next few weeks.

This will be a huge relief to our customers and employees alike, as it would eliminate the logistically heavy requirement of physically signed documents. This will give a tremendous boost to our sales and will further accelerate our growth rate.

Still you are mostly north-centric, particularly Madhya Pradesh. Do you have any plans to expand your footprint across India, in the south especially?

We always had a pan-India vision. We have customers from 20 different States now, spanning from Punjab to Kerala and from Gujarat to Tripura. However, major concentration has been from Central and Western regions because of the hassle of physical account opening documentation. The launch of online account opening will expand our footprint rapidly across the country.

Published on March 02, 2017

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