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India’s fintech market is one of the most dynamic and rapidly changing markets in the world. It has remained largely resilient to all the challenges that the pandemic brought with it. The modern customer is tech-savvy, has adopted e-commerce experience, and expects the same or better. Upstox (also known as RKSV Securities), one of India’s largest online investment platforms, today announced that it has crossed the significant milestone of onboarding 1 crore customers. Founded in 2009, Upstox achieved the milestone of 10 lakh customers in June 2020 and has grown 10x in less than two years. Commenting on this milestone, Ravi Kumar, Co-Founder & CEO, Upstox said, “Our mission is to magically simplify investing for every Indian. And with this milestone of 1 crore customers, we are just getting started in our mission. We are excited about the path in front of us, and the potential to make investing a habit for every Indian.”
The investing platform has seen tremendous broad-based growth in the last three years – over 50% of the customers are millennials, nearly 70% are first-time investors, and more than 85% belong to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. And in the next 4-5 years, the Upstox team aims to onboard 20-30 crore (200 million to 300 million) customers.
Upstox started over a decade ago with low prices and simple technology. However, today its main differentiators are its technology platform, the customer experience, transparency and trust with customers, and the ability to advise and educate customers about investment best practices. Let’s see how Upstox created the difference.
1: Keeping it simple: At Upstox, the goal is to make it simple enough for people, from beginner retail investors all the way to professional traders, to use. They provide enough sophistication in educational content and advanced features for traders to trade actively. The aim is to provide an ecosystem for investors with various investment options.
2. Easy Experience: Upstox is a mobile-first and digital-first organisation. They have a website and an app that is simple, intuitive, and easy to use and is available on both Android and iOS. They use a cloud-based n-tier service-oriented architecture. Trading order management, payments, holdings and positions, market data, customer login, client onboarding, and other foundational systems are based on microservices using relational and non-relational databases.
3. Innovation is the Key: The kind of load and scale Upstox engineers see during market hours, coupled with high expectations from customers, volatility of the market and money (EQ, FO and FU) moving through the system makes it very challenging. They have built a robust unified data platform to provide greater customer and business insights and reporting capabilities. They built a framework, system, services, and apps with the ability to export a range of diagnostics and system data, with the goal of identifying issues in the system before the customer does. The team concentrates on the core functionality and business metrics with this level of observability integrated into the framework.
4. Keep improving: Upstox released a new version of its platform last year after conducting extensive market research. The idea was to deliver a faster and more comprehensive investment experience. They are also working on a number of industry-first innovations to improve the client experience. This includes the WhatsApp chatbot integration, which allows users to open accounts and invest in IPOs fully through WhatsApp’s chat interface. The Option Strategy Builder is another unique feature. It streamlines the process of creating options strategies while also directing customers to the optimal risk-reward options.
5. Culture is the differentiator: Upstox founders believe in creating a customer-obsessed, purpose-driven, and self-sustaining team culture that empowers individuals to make faster decisions. As per Thippesha Dyamappa, CTO, Upstox, “In order to prosper as a fintech startup, one must strive to challenge the status quo. The industry is in the early stages of digital transformation, and there are many more big opportunities for innovation. It is important to encourage your team to discuss ideas, cooperate with unlikely partners, and develop their skills while they’re with the organisation and help create a sense of creative disruption.”
6. Millenial focused: Upstox runs on the idea that every Indian should have the opportunity to invest in equity markets. In many ways, what the Indian Premier League (IPL) did to cricket, Upstox aims to do with equity investing. IPL retained the core of cricket but made it more relevant and interesting to the youth of the nation. And, that’s exactly what they intend to do for the world of finance. According to Shrini Viswanath, Co-founder, Upstox, “The pandemic demonstrated that millennials are more open to investing in the stock market. Emerging markets, such as India, are rapidly transforming into engines of future prosperity. Individual investors are on the rise in equities as part of a broader trend, away from conventional investment options like gold, real estate and bank deposits. And this is only going to get better with time.”
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