Dale Vaz, the outgoing chief technology officer (CTO) at Swiggy, has raised $7-10 million from Accel and Elevation Capital for his wealth-tech startup, three people aware of the developments told Moneycontrol.
This move into the wealth tech sector comes at a time when the retail investor base has been growing rapidly. Analysts at CLSA reported in March this year that the number of dematerialised accounts, which enable users to track all their assets electronically, has quintupled from 22 million in FY14 to around 113 million in FY23.
This trend has likely encouraged investors to support Vaz's venture, even in a more cautious investment environment.
Vaz resigned in April, as reported by Moneycontrol earlier, and will be leaving his current role at the food tech giant this month. Meanwhile, he has been building his wealth-tech startup in stealth mode and has not decided on a name yet.
Wealth-tech startups essentially serve as platforms that allow users to invest across various asset classes, including mutual funds and other investment options. They also provide the ability to trade stocks, commodities, and more.
Established players in this space include Zerodha, Groww, Upstox, Paytm Money, and others commonly referred to as discount brokers.
Vaz, who has over two decades of experience, joined Swiggy in July 2018 and quickly climbed the ranks to become the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in February 2020. Prior to joining Swiggy, he spent more than 10 years at Amazon. Before his tenure at Amazon, Vaz worked for Infosys in the United States for six years, according to his LinkedIn profile.
In recent weeks, Vaz has actively shared insights about various asset classes and his investment strategies, aiming to educate people.
"We work so hard for our money, it's important that we make our money work as hard for us," Vaz tweeted on May 20.
The interest in investing and trading largely increased during the Covid years when people were locked at homes, thanks to the pandemic-induced restrictions.
“The number of retail investors has grown consistently over the years, with a sharp uptick during Covid. This was driven by greater awareness as well as ease of transactions enabled by discount brokers,” CLSA’s report said.
“Discount brokers have facilitated retail investor participation, they have been instrumental in widening retail investor participation in India. For them, the majority of incremental customer acquisitions are happening from Tier-2 and lower locations,” it added.
While the total demat accounts quintupled, the number of unique active customers has grown at a slower pace of about 9X from 4 million in FY14 to around 34 million currently, data showed. An active investor is one who has traded at least once in the past 12 months.
But, a separate report from Motilal Oswal showed that the active user count on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) declined for the tenth straight month in April this year to around 31.2 million, down from 38 million in July 2022, as the enthusiasm among retail investors was declining.
Moneycontrol reached out to Dale Vaz, who said that he was not authorised to speak on the matter due to a confidentiality agreement. Elevation Capital did not respond to an email seeking details, while Accel could not be reached for comment.