Startups might lose risk-taking ability post IPOs: Nithin Kamath

As domestic startups line up to go public, Zerodha's CEO fears they might lose their nimbleness as they become answerable to a million shareholders, and thereby compromise on growth



Pratik Bhakta

June 17, 2021

9 Min Read

Stock broking platform Zerodha is not like a regular technology startup. It has been profitable the previous four years. For financial year 2020-21, it reported Rs 1,000 crore (about $135 million) in after-tax profit on revenue of around Rs 2,500 crore ($340 million), a record of sorts in India’s startup sector. 

The bootstrapped company rode the wave of new traders joining the stock market through 2020 and now counts about 3.8 million active traders. 

Zerodha currently onboards nearly 400,000 traders every month, a momentum cofounder and CEO Nithin Kamath expects will hold for the rest of the year if the stock market remains bullish. The Nifty is up 12.5% this year and the Sexsex nearly 10%.

In terms of revenue for this financial year, Kamath expects it to be unchanged from the previous year because of regulatory restrictions on intraday margins.

But Kamath’s awaiting an asset management license that will allow Zerodha to develop passive mutual fund products and not merely be a distributor. It is here that a company can actually start making money in the mutual fund business.

Having been an active trader himself and a broker for more than a decade, Kamath has a ring side view of the intersection of startups and the stock market. It’s a particularly hot space given that several prominent domestic startups are planning public share listings.

In an interview with The CapTable, the billionaire founder discussed the future of these startups as listed companies and how Indian retail traders are likely to value them. Edited excerpts:

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