Zerodha founder & CEO Nithin Kamath had no Plan B. “Had I been a student of an IIM or Harvard, I would have known that if this doesn’t work out, I’ll be able to find another job.” A B-school education is a parachute alright, but one that would have kept him from pursuing his dream, he says.
Whatever success the bootstrapped and cashflow-positive online stock trading start-up has earned, he feels, is because of the 10-12 years he spent in the capital markets before co-founding the venture with brother Nikhil. His firm, Zerodha, is among the 100-plus unicorns in the country today -- a crowning glory for India’s start-up story as it now hosts the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world after the US and China -- with more than 77,000 DPIIT registered start-ups.
“Ours is a country which needs hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs because of our varied customer base, geography and demography, and tonnes of very real problems,” says Padmaja Ruparel, co-founder of Indian Angel Network and Founding Partner of IAN Fund. “But 90 per cent of Indian students are focussed on getting a high-paying job after completing their education. We are in a job-oriented economy, not a start-up economy, yet,” says Rajeev Warrier, Executive Vice President at Wadhwani Foundation’s Wadhwani Entrepreneur. Their National Entrepreneurship Network programme enables institutes to set up an entrepreneurship programme to support aspiring student founders and start-ups as well as train the faculty in supporting such student.
Recently, Zerodha also earned bouquets from National Bank for Infrastructure Development Chairman KV Kamath. The veteran banker commended the online stock trading platform for being a bootstrapped and cash-flow positive venture, calling it a good model for a business, at an event in September.
“It's a low-cost platform, he has boot-strapped himself and runs the company. Good for him. (They) run a cash-flow-positive company. This is a good model to understand how the business is run. He is a disruptor because Zerodha has disrupted all incumbents who were there for the last 20-25 years,” Kamath had said.
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