Contributed by: Soniya Lunawat
“Be in the business where you have the edge over the others,” said Zerodha CEO, Nithin Kamath on 7th February to a packed classroom at IIM Bangalore. The second session of Changemakers – Where founders tell their tales organized by Entrepreneurship and Innovation Cell saw students eager to listen to the founder of India’s largest broking firm. Nithin began recounting his journey just after the 2008 crisis when other established brokerage firms had started to diversify their interests. Contrary to the popular belief of taking VC support to grow the firm, he spoke his heart out about how he and his brother have grown Zerodha while still being in the bootstrapping mode and without spending even a single penny on any form of advertising, including Google AdWords campaigns.
Throughout the talk, one thing he focused upon was solving the real problem that the customers face and making oneself knowledgeable enough to do it better than anybody else in the industry. Not having a business plan and relying on intuition gained through his 15 years of the trading experience worked for him. Nonetheless, he advised budding entrepreneurs to make a fool-proof business plan instead of relying on luck to drive their success. Though the number of active traders in India (people trading once a year) as of now is limited, he underlined the importance of understanding the importance of right investments and discussed Zerodha’s plans to reach to the masses. Students, as well as startup founders, left the session feeling motivated than restrained by the resources and opportunities they have.
Apart from functioning as a guiding force behind Zerodha, Nithin is also an excellent poker player. To give IIM Bangalore students an opportunity to interact one-on-one with him, ENI had organized an informal ‘Poker session’ in the hostel blocks.
The ‘Changemakers 2019’ series concluded with the audience gaining insight into how the unicorns of the ‘Indian Startup Industry’ have developed and made their presence felt.
Soniya is a student of PGP 2018-20 batch at IIM Bangalore and a member of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Cell.