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Upstox eyes 10 million customers, awaits SEBI framework on digital gold

In its next phase of growth, Upstox will look to provide tools for customers to decide asset strategies. Upstox eventually wants to become a wealth management platform and is exploring multiple products.

September 22, 2021 / 01:33 PM IST
Upstox, with five million customers, is currently the second-largest after Zerodha.

Upstox, with five million customers, is currently the second-largest after Zerodha.


Online stockbroking platform, Upstox, is eyeing the No.1 spot in the segment and 10 million customers by the end of this fiscal year.

Upstox, with five million customers, is currently the second-largest. Zerodha, with six million-plus customers, is the No.1 online discount broker, and contributes 15 percent of the retail trading volumes in India.

Speaking to Moneycontrol, Upstox co-founder Shrini Viswanath said: “We started 2021 with 2-3 million customers. We have doubled that to 5 million now. We are trying to aim for 10 million customers by the end of this FY. While we see other people also growing in this space, we want to be number one in this space, no matter what,” he said.


What makes Upstox confident

Though there are a number of online stockbroking platforms like Zerodha, Groww and many traditional platforms, there is still scope for growth. For example, Raise Financial, which was founded only in January 2021, is already eyeing a million customers for its investing app Dhan in the next year.

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While competition is big, the scope for penetration is big, too. There are only 4 crore active demat accounts in India. The increasing adoption of investments through digital modes is another growth driver.

Also, Upstox is backed by investors like Ratan Tata and Tiger Global, and 70 percent of its customers are first-time investors, with 80 percent of them in the 18-35 age bracket.


What are the plans?

Founded in 2009 as RKSV Securities by Shrini Viswanath, Raghu Kumar and Ravi Kumar, the company entered retail broking in 2011 and rebranded to Upstox in 2016. In its next phase, the Mumbai-based company is looking to go beyond just executing trades.

“Our next job is to demystify investment as a whole for our customers, be it stocks, ETFs or fixed deposits. We want to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to give them the tools to provide asset strategies,” Viswanath explained.

“The growth in Tier II and III cities is still completely untapped. We have not yet scratched the surface there. While they don’t have a lot of options like in Tier I cities, they have 4G internet connections and smartphones. So, they prefer to do everything digitally,” he said.

Eighty percent of the company’s user base comes from Tier II and III markets. Viswanath expects this ratio to remain the same even as customers grow in number.

For a longer-term view, Upstox wants to become a wealth management company, offering more investment products on its platform.

“In the next 5-10 years, we want to become a wealth management platform. We are exploring everything – mutual funds, insurance, loans etc. We will look at fixed deposits and international trading first and then at other avenues.”


Digital gold journey

The company’s digital gold vertical was recently put to a halt after the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said that selling gold online by members was a violation of the Securities Contracts (Regulations) Rules, 1957. But SEBI is now looking at regulating digital gold sales, Viswanath said.

“SEBI has come back saying that they are going to look at a framework by which they can regulate digital gold. So, currently we are not offering digital gold, but we are eagerly waiting for SEBI to release the framework because we do have a lot of customers who are interested in buying gold online,” he explained.
Priyanka Iyer
first published: Sep 22, 2021 01:33 pm

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