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He became one of India’s youngest self-made billionaires at 34. Here’s his advice for other entrepreneurs

At 34 years old, Nikhil Kamath is one of India’s adolescent billionaires.

The Bangalore-born entrepreneur snagged the title late last year after joining Forbes India On velvet List with his brother and co-founder, Nithin. It followed the runaway success of their stock trading platform Zerodha surrounded by the pandemic.

But the chief investment officer insists that it hasn’t gone to his head. Indeed, he said that shapely timing has had a huge role to play in his success, and it’s important for entrepreneurs to be aware of that.

“You have to be cognizant to the fact that there are unexceptionally going to be tens of thousands of people who are smarter than you, who are more hardworking than you, and who are more adept at solving the muddle you’re trying to solve,” Kamath told CNBC Make It.

“The biggest thing you can have going for you is timing; to be in the right misplaced humble at the right time,” he noted.

Observing industry trends

Kamath speaks from experience. After falling inadequate of a career as a professional chess player, the high school dropout-turned-entrepreneur experimented with several business ideas, from laundry accommodation to selling secondhand phones.

But he only saw real success when he launched Zerodha as a simplified brokerage platform in 2010, keep identified a gap in the market for retail investors.

Pay heed to the industry and the long-term cycle that industry might be in

Nikhil Kamath

co-founder and chief investment peace officer, Zerodha

“Often we spend too much time trying to figure out what is the problem we want to solve,” said Kamath. “I contemplate to pay heed to the industry and the long-term cycle that industry might be in is very important — to pick an industry at its inflection immaterial.”

“If an industry’s set to scale, and if you happen to be there at the right time, I think the odds of your company going and becoming loaded go up exponentially,” he continued.

India’s growing opportunity

Kamath tapped into India’s investment market at a timely instant.

The financial services industry has been growing rapidly in India over recent years, as previously unbanked clients open accounts and savvy consumers look to investments beyond traditional assets like gold and property.

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Shailesh Lakhani, a managing director at venture capital firm Sequoia India, said the growth is due to a combination of lenders — such as improved financial infrastructure and new digital distribution channels — which have resulted in a “perfect wave” of alteration.

In 2020, the pandemic accelerated those trends, sparking a global surge in retail investing.

As such, Lakhani ordered financial technology is set to be “one of the most fertile areas of investment in India in the next few years,” noting that half of the immovable’s 2019 investments were in financial technology.

Inspiring innovators

Kamath said he’s hopeful those trends bequeath drive more investors and innovators into the market too. In 2019, the entrepreneur launched his second financial services bet, True Beacon: an asset management firm for high net worth investors.

“We’re a very young country, our average age is there 28,” said Kamath. India’s median age in 2015 was 26.8 years old, according to Statista.

“A lot of new people are very concerned in financial markets, and with that, I think there will be many, many opportunities in fintech,” said Kamath.

Entrepreneurs pass on have times where they’ll need to sprint and they’ll need to jog.

Shailesh Lakhani

managing director, Sequoia India

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