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BW Businessworld

Where Investing Is Made Fun

The idea of learning all the tricks of investing in the stock market without losing a penny proved to be a clincher for StockGro

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EVERYBODY LOVES A good idea. The fast-growing popularity of StockGro, a unique educational initia­tive to democratise investment in the stock market, is the latest proof of that. Within three months of being launched in January 2020, StockGro, a platform that helps investors learn trading and investment in a real-time trading environment using virtual money and allows them to build virtual portfolios and compete and collaborate with each other, was able to garner 100,000 users and is expected to cross 1 million users within a year.

It is common knowledge that with the Covid-19 lockdown, almost all funds dried up. Venture capitalists and angel investors were preserv­ing cash to support their existing portfolios and survive the uncertain phase. 

Speaking about his experience of raising funds in such anxious times, Ajay Lakhotia, who founded StockGro and serves as its CEO, says, “A critical part of the fund raise has been to know the founder and build a connect with investors. Doing that in a 30-45 minutes online call has its own nuances. Fortunately, the world has started to adapt to the new norm. VCs who are on the forefront of tech disruption discov­ered a new sector — online virtual meeting and started investing aggressively in this sector apart from online gaming and social start­ups.”

Trying Times

The company started right at the onset of Covid and spent a rigorous seven months in building and rolling out the first version of its app by June end. From the initial 1,200 users who registered in the first month of its launch, StockGro in the last six months went on to notch up a tally of more than 110,000 active users on its platform, which is almost 22 times growth. 

From a humble $8,000 in revenues to start with, the company has now almost touched a million dollar run-rate and is expected to grow to atleast 4 times in the next 12 months. “More importantly, the impact that we have created in the life of our users by helping make them investment ready, the amount of trading or investing being done by the millennials on StockGro is a glimpse of the impact we can create in the investment industry,” adds Lakhotia.

Innovation is a key ingredi­ent of growth and matters for all budding start-ups. Stockgro in itself is a unique offering which combines gaming with social networking and trading -- three very compelling ele­ments in one single platform.

Says Lakhotia, “Since noth­ing like this exists out there, we had to not just build everything from scratch but also think about the whole user journey. It was a very bold step but gave us an opportunity to innovate and open up a whole new sector. From our technology platform which is at the core of innovation to our cus­tomer acquisition strategy, we have built a new playbook shifting the rules of the game.”

Stress on Collaboration 

The food processing sector is big enough for multiple businesses to grow together and expand the industry. Hence, Lakhotia and his team advocate collaboration rather than competition. With scaled up businesses in financial sector like Zerodha and Groww, Stockgro is exploring more venues to collaborate.

StockGro is reported to be the first startup to unlock a new sec­tor, and while there is the first mover advantage, the company also holds the moral responsibility of building the right product, lay­ing down the right ground rules and driving user engagement in the right direction.

Highlighting his top predic­tions, Lakhotia mentioned, “The stock market is expected to grow by at least 15 per cent YoY in the next two years and we expect it to gain at least 30 per cent. In addi­tion, the Indian bond market is also expected to warm up and grow significantly over the next two years and the new exchanges are likely to emerge, offering exotic derivate products in the country.”