Nithin and Nikhil Kamath, began their journey earning just ₹8,000 per month. Today, they stand tall as founders of Zerodha, India’s 2nd most profitable unicorn in FY22, boasting an annual profit of ₹2049 crores. Their success story is an inspiration to everyone out there. Today we will be covering their whole experience in a short story format.
The tale of Zerodha and Zoho is one of the most exceptional profitability ones, with Zerodha achieving over ₹2000 crores in yearly profit with only around 1900 employees. In comparison, many unicorns with 10,000 employees are still struggling with losses.
The Kamath brothers chose to prioritize profitability over growth, and their strategy paid off. However, their early lives were far from smooth sailing.
Nithin Kamath’s Journey
Nithin Kamath, a below-average student, was introduced to trading by his Marwadi friends. After losing ₹5 lakhs in the 2001-02 market crash, he dropped out of college and worked nights at a call center to rebuild his trading portfolio.
Fate intervened when a high-worth NRI, impressed by Nithin’s portfolio, became his first client. Word spread, and Nithin’s client base grew to 40. He managed these clients’ funds under Kamath Associates.
Nikhil Kamath’s Journey
Nikhil Kamath dropped out after 10th grade and worked at a call center for ₹8,000 per month. He used to work in the call centre from 4 pm to 1 am, and he worked as a stock trader in the morning. It was that time when he left his parents’ house and moved in with his girlfriend. At 18, he began managing his father’s savings and later his boss’s funds. In 2004, he and Nithin founded Kamath Associates.
Launch of Zerodha: A Revolutionary Approach
In 2009, the Kamath brothers used their experience and insights to launch Zerodha. They aimed to solve two issues plaguing the stockbroking industry: high percentage fees and hidden charges. Zerodha introduced a flat ₹20 fee for all trades and provided full transparency on costs.
Zerodha’s client base started with “jugaad” marketing strategies like Yahoo Messenger chat groups, cold calls, and visits. But when the Economic Times mentioned Zerodha in a 2011 article, their customer base began to soar.
Zero Brokerage Fee Model & Employee Welfare
While waiting in an airport lounge, Nithin decided to reduce equity delivery fees to ₹0. The next day, Zerodha implemented this “Zero brokerage fee” model, and their accounts skyrocketed. Today, they boast over 1 crore accounts, ₹4934 crores in revenue, and ₹2094 crores in profit.
The Kamath brothers attribute their success to their employees. With 90% of them working from home and incentives for staying fit, Zerodha fosters a healthy and flexible work environment.
Lessons from the Kamath Brothers
The inspiring journey of the Kamath brothers teaches us that bootstrapping builds humility, one failure doesn’t define you, and taking care of your team leads to company success.
Nithin and Nikhil Kamath, with their down-to-earth personalities and thriving business, are role models for aspiring entrepreneurs and students seeking greatness. Their story is a testament to the power of hard work, determination, and innovative thinking.