Groww is a Bangalore based startup founded by Lalit Keshre, Harsh Jain, Neeraj Singh and Ishan Bansal.
Groww is a technology company that offers a seamless and transparent approach to investing via a web platform, Android app and iOS. Experts on Groww platform educate investors and answer all the questions that they have before and after they invest, says Harsh.
We at Bangalore Insider had the opportunity to catch up with Harsh, the co-founder of Groww and to know more about the startup, read his inspiring story.
Give a brief info about your startup?
Groww is one of India’s fastest growing online investment platforms. Headquartered in Bengaluru, Groww is a technology company that offers a seamless and transparent approach to investing via a web platform, Android app and iOS. Experts on Groww platform educate investors and answer all the questions that they have before and after they invest. Investors can explore mutual funds from all the fund houses and get recommendations from experts on their various needs. Internet is changing the way consumers in India shop, books cabs and even consume the news. Despite the e-commerce boom, the finance sector has largely stayed traditional. This was our trigger point – we want to bring the delightful consumer experience in finance by making everything related to money simple and transparent.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
We faced many problems when we started investing. We had many questions like where to invest, how much to invest, how to invest etc. Financial products are very complex and opaque. We are building Groww for users who want simplicity and transparency in dealing with their money. Groww leverages data science to build and scale communities that advise each other through their own practical experience to make investing simpler to understand.
Tell us about yourself, the team- previous jobs/ventures? What were you all doing before this startup? How did you all meet each other?
Our founding team worked at Flipkart which is where we met.
Lalit Keshre, Co-founder & CEO, Groww – looks after the product and customer experience. Prior to starting Groww, Lalit was with Flipkart where he founded and led Flipkart Quick and helped launch Flipkart Marketplace. Earlier, Lalit has founded an online learning company Eduflix, and has also been an early member at Ittiam Systems. Lalit has graduated from IIT Bombay.
Harsh Jain, Co-Founder & COO, Groww – heads Customer Acquisition, Retention and business expansion. He is an AMFI Registered Mutual Fund Advisor. Prior to Groww, Harsh was Product Manager at Flipkart. He has also been founder of a story-telling start-up. Harsh holds a B-Tech and M-Tech from IIT Delhi. Harsh completed his MBA from UCLA.
Neeraj Singh, Co-Founder, Groww – is responsible for Product development and customer research at Groww. A passionate engineer, solution developer and coder, Neeraj was with Flipkart as an engineering manager and has built the Flipkart customer returns and refund system prior to starting Groww. Neeraj holds a BE degree in Information Technology from ITM, Gwalior and a PG Diploma in Advance Computing from CDAC.
Ishan Bansal, Co-Founder, Groww – heads Finance. Prior to this, Ishan had investment experience in tech space and across geographies. Ishan has been with Flipkart earlier, where he was responsible for Corporate Development. He has also handled corporate development and M&A at Naspers. Ishan graduated from BITS Pilani and holds an MBA in Finance from XLRI, Jamshedpur. Ishan is also a CFA.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
We are based out of Bengaluru, but our users are from more than 750 cities in India. We are a tech company and Bengaluru undoubtedly is the best place for finding like-minded people. All four of us have spent considerable time in Bengaluru, so it makes a perfect place for us.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Growth. Being a young startup not too many people know about us yet. It’s important for us to keeping finding effective way of reaching to our target users. Most of existing growth has come through referrals.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
We have two kind of competitors. One, traditional banks and financial institutions who are becoming digital and second, digital companies who are trying to enter financial space.
We are the simplest platform for beginners in India. Groww helps users learn and invest in mutual funds that are suitable for their needs. Experts on the platform provide the social comfort that Indians are used to when it comes to making financial decisions.
To stay customer focused, Groww offers zero commission products to customers. The entire experience is paperless and instant. Investors do not need open Demat account for investing on Groww. Investors, who have already invested in the Regular plans through any agent or platform, can move their investments to Direct plans and can start saving on the commissions, right away.
How hard is it to have a work life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
It is not difficult to maintain the balance. The key is to spend quality time at both the places.
Entrepreneurship is not about doing a lot of work, it’s about doing work a lot more smartly. Of course, some days are more demanding at work. If the priorities are set right and communicated well, it all works out.
All 4 of us, co-founders, have been part of startups earlier. That also helps a lot.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We are funded by Y Combinator, Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Nagori. And, we raised $1.6mn in pre-series A funding this year from Insignia Ventures Partners, Lightbridge Partners, Kairos and others.
What gets you excited about this company?
Making something that people need. Today just 20 million Indians are investing in mutual funds or similar products. Whereas, more than 200 million can. We are making financial easy and accessible to them. Groww community helps them learn and get started. Over time, they make their crucial life decisions with Groww. The fact that Groww is a critical part of people’s life journey is exciting.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
Most of the days, my 9 month old would wake me up. He is an early riser. I do yoga or play badminton before leaving for office around 8. In Bangalore, earlier you leave, lesser time it takes on the road. I spend around an hour to analyse key metrics, write emails, read industry news. I would usually have a few meetings, calls and interviews scheduled during the day. I also spend time with our customer success team (who supports customers). Around 7pm I am back home, have dinner and spend some time with my 2 sons before putting them to bed, talk to my wife, watch tv, read news on mobile and sleep around 11pm.
Anything else which you want to talk about.
We are building Groww to make finance simple for the millennials in India. This generation takes their financial decisions through social influence. Be it talking to an expert, or listening to someone on Youtube or discussing on Whatsapp with friends. We have built the same experience on the app. One can invest in experts’ created collection of mutual funds, or chat with experts , get doubts cleared and then invest in suitable funds.
It is very different than the way financial products were sold traditionally through bank/agents.
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