Emerging Entrepreneurs

An app that helps you Groww your money

Purnima S Das | Updated on March 31, 2020

Lalit Keshre, CEO and Co-founder, Groww

The start-up aims to make investing easy and quick; has two million active monthly users

For most young people, the thrill of splurging wears off a year or two into their jobs, and the reality of needing to invest for the future hits hard. But most of them are at sea when faced with a wide choice of investment options, and without a clear idea of the kind of returns they can expect.

This is where Groww, an app-based investment platform, comes into play. Launched in 2017, the app has over two million monthly active users and a five million total user base. “Our offerings have struck a chord with investors who have been looking for an easy-to-use platform, and our customers have proved to be our biggest evangelists. Since the beginning, our major marketing channel has been word of mouth and it remains the primary one. Users who have enjoyed the investing experience actively recommend our platform to friends and family, and this network effect has led us to grow rapidly,” says Lalit Keshre, co-founder and CEO, Groww.

The investment options under mutual funds and stocks are presented clearly, both on the app and the website. The information on mutual funds includes performance graphs for various periods, the fund details and overview, historical returns, a returns calculator, and comparison with peers. A holding analysis, sector allocation graph and list of pros and cons are also available. The investing process is simple, with the user offered various options for duration of investment in, say, an SIP, and flexibility in the amount invested.

For stocks, the investment option will open up soon. But, for now, the user can view a snapshot of the company, including its share price graph, statistics at a glance, brand information, financials, shareholding pattern and comparison with peers.

Other companies, such as Kuvera, Paytm Money and Zerodha Coin, offer similar services. So what makes Groww stand out? “Our key differentiation lies in the customer obsession that we bring in with our product, and the resources we offer that help users make a decision on their own. Simplicity, especially the smooth user interface, is our USP. It is built keeping both first-time investors and experts in mind,” says Lalit.




Attracting millennials

“It is a completely do-it-yourself platform with more than 80 per cent of our users aged below 34, which clearly shows that millennials love our app,” says Lalit. The app has an eight-step verification process, starting with providing your mobile number to uploading your Aadhaar card, all of which is completely online.

For Swagnika Bhattacharjee, a 24-year-old software developer who uses the investment app, real-time updates are a value-add. “Undoubtedly, Groww has made my mutual fund investments much easier and simpler. It is an all-in-one app where you can manage your investments and gain insights,” she said. A Bengaluru-based developer Rishabh Kataria said: “Managing SIPs and tracking them was never so easy. It has instilled a habit of saving in me.”

On data privacy and how safe one’s money is, Lalit says: “We have stringent checks in place to ensure the data and money are safe during the entire investment journey. All personal information is stored using 256-bit encryption and we do regular vulnerability scans, leaving no room for error. Groww is an intermediary, and all transactions — investing or redemption of investments — are routed through the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).”

Groww is not a robo-advisory platform, therefore it doesn’t offer suggestions or recommendations to the user. “Our aim is to list all the information in the most lucid and transparent manner. We offer tools such as fund performance comparison features and content in various formats to further aid decision-making,” says Lalit.

Asked about monetisation plans, Lalit says: “We are not focusing on that at the moment. There are no commissions or hidden charges. Currently, mutual fund investing is free on the app. We are launching stocks, for which there will be no charges on equity delivery investments; however, there will be account opening and maintenance charges. Being a tech-first company, our costs are low, and therefore we continue to focus on scaling our user base while launching more investment options.”

Educating all

A former Flipkart employee, Lalit founded the company with three colleagues — Harsh Jain, Neeraj Singh and Ishan Bansal. “All four of us wanted to do something in the financial services sector, and that is how Groww took shape.”

“Because of word of mouth, this digital product started to draw a lot of customers from tier 2 and 3 cities. More than 60 per cent of users are not from major cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. We have several users from Patna, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Coimbatore and Indore,” says the IIT Bombay graduate.

In September last year, the start-up raised $21.4 million in a Series B funding from US-based Ribbit Capital, along with participation from existing investors, Sequoia Capital India and Y Combinator. It had earlier raised $8.3 million from various investors, led by Sequoia Capital India.

The Bengaluru-based start-up is engaged in the ongoing Ab Karega India Invest initiative, where team members have, since November 2019, been travelling to various cities to conduct conferences and explain the nuances of investing.

“The penetration of financial services in India is really low beyond the metropolitan cities. Groww is making investing accessible to millions of people, with a sharp focus on customer experience. For us, there are no boundaries. This programme helps us in multiple ways, but the biggest one is to engage closely with aspiring investors across these cities. It is also helping us gain insights into the various areas we can be present in,” says Lalit.

Published on March 31, 2020

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