Zerodha – From modest beginnings to being the largest retail brokerage in India today

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Zerodhastarted out as a discount broking firm in Bengaluru in 2010, differentiating itself from the practice of charging ludicrous fees that was the norm in the industry. I met Nithin, Zerodha’s founder, in 2013. Realising that the capital markets ecosystem was not witnessing any of the technological advancements in other industries, we founded Zerodha Tech in 2013 to build quality software and technology to make investing and trading easily accessible to the masses.

Today, we are the largest stock broker in India, and one of the biggest, if not the biggest, retail trading platforms in the world. We process millions of transactions every day representing more than 15% of the all retail volumes across all Indian exchanges. We’ve achieved this growth organically over the last decade while not spending a single penny on advertising or marketing, purely via word of mouth generated by the quality of our products and services. From free and accessible investment apps to the largest, open, financial markets courseware in the world, we’ve innovated relentlessly.

Along the way, to bolster the space with technology companies, we founded Rainmatter, a fund focused on investing in financial technology startups. It has made 14 investments so far. In addition, to aid the easy entry of fintech startups into the investment space, we opened up our entire broking stack as APIs, on top of which, now, several large startups that have built their businesses.

Curiously, while the size of the company across various departments has grown from 80 employees in 2013 to 1200 in 2020, Zerodha Tech has remained a disproportionately small, 30 member team. This tiny team has built the entire stock broking stack from the ground up—hundreds of internal and external applications—and scaled it to handle millions of users and transactions every day. This always brings a smile to my face, that a tiny group of developers can tackle extremely complex and large scale engineering, financial, and even regulatory problems, abstract everything away meaningfully to deliver excellent technology, creating India’s largest trading platform.

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