5paisa.com has a triple engine strategy to boost its velocity, and the results are showing:
5paisa.com is India’s leading diversified online platform for financial products, including equity, debt, gold etc. It is also one of the largest discount brokers in India. Technology is crucial for the firm and at every level it leverages technology to drive change. CEO of the firm, says the firm uses technology continuously in tasks like improving a customers’ account opening experience, or her ability in picking the right stocks to investing in and placing trades with absolute ease, or simplifying and automating processes for the employees and departments. In 2020, the company has launched several tools to provide a superior experience for investors while building a strong portfolio.
Gagdani elaborates: “The portfolio analyser is a one of its kind tool that empowers an individual to track the performance of one’s portfolio and compare it with the benchmark using the concept of an NAV similar to how mutual fund performances are tracked. This tool also enables the user to see the concentration of their portfolio across sectors and allows them to analyze every buy and sell decision taken by them to see if those decisions were successful.”
With rapid growth and scale comes an impending need to prepare its servers and infrastructure for scale and a need for strong security measures to protect its systems and customer data. “We have spent a considerable amount of time and effort in building our applications for scale in the past year, by moving several processes to the cloud to support automated scaling to ensure high uptime for our customers,” says Gagdani.
APP BASED MODEL
The whole business of 5paisa.com is through online sources as the model is focused on an app-based approach. Gagdani says more than 80% of the business comes from through the mobile app and the rest through the web and desktop trading platforms. A search on Google Playstore showed 2 apps from the company. The trading app has a rating of 3.9 and over 1 million downloads. Their lending app has a rating of 3.3 and 1000+ downloads.
P2P LENDING PLATFORM
5paisa.com is also diversifying its offerings. In mid May 2020, it launched ‘5paisa Loans’, a P2P lending platform, where one can lend from Rs500 to Rs5 million to multiple borrowers and earn interest as high as 36% per annum. Gagdani says the platform was launched at a time when borrowers like small businessmen and individuals do not have many avenues to borrow and many lenders have no opportunity to lend. “Our AI and tech driven credit underwriting portfolio approach of offering is unique in the industry. 5paisa Loans screen every borrower coming on our platform with more than 100 variable data points like age, location, earnings, previous loan history, social profile, expenditure, etc and present the information through a unified score for lenders to choose from. Therefore, rather than lending to an individual borrower, the platform enables lending to a portfolio of borrowers, thereby, reducing risk and diversifying investment.”
GROWING CUSTOMER BASE
The company currently has over 550,000 customers as compared to about 190,000 last year. It has added 175,000 customers since March 2020. This year has also seen the launch of a power-packed subscription product that gives users several features and benefits worth more than Rs30,000 at just Rs499 and Rs999 a month. The plans offer discounted pricing in brokerage and demat charges and also allow a user to get top quality research tools and advice for near and long term trades.
“Our customer base,” says Gagdani, “having grown almost 3 times, has made it really important for us to scale up our infra at all levels. Our overall turnover at the exchange and our market share of trades have also gone up significantly in the past year. We have also invested in tabs that allow our employees to work remotely.”
DISTRIBUTORS & AGENTS
Distributors and agents are an important source of acquiring clients for 5paisa.com. A significant amount of development has gone in to building a robust partner platform. Gagdani says the partners can add and service their leads with ease. The app allows partners to get visibility of the business they have generated with dashboards and reports. They can also assist their customers in the entire account opening process.
DATA SCIENCE TEAM
5paisa.com has a dedicated data science team. The team gathers all the data from application interactions to transactions to help the firm build better applications and also help in targeting the customers with the right communications that are relevant to their needs. Gagdani says the company has been able to leverage this data to also discover new business opportunities and grow them to scale. The team size is 100 and the members help the company develop new in-house technologies.
PARTNERS & VENDORS
5paisa.com has directly tied up with several startups in the stock trading ecosystem and offers direct trading execution from their platforms by exposing open APIs to them that give clients a seamless experience on these platforms. Many of 5paisa.com’s application components are built and maintained by its partners. The company believes in focusing on areas that help it differentiate and add value. Prakarsh Gagdani explains: “Parts that are readily available are obtained and integrated into our overall offering. This helps us stay lean and offer the best features faster. We use a mix of Azure and Netmagic for hosting our infrastructure. Zoho is one of our key partners and we use many of its applications for our internal processes. Marketplace Technologies is another key partner that supports our back-office applications.”
AUTOMATION OF MARKETING
The company has taken a lot of effort in automating marketing and in customizing its interactions with customers. This has been done through what is described as smart journeys, which essentially facilitate customers with the right information at the right time, providing them a smooth investing experience on the app. Gagdani explains that with instructional communications, videos and GIFs served at the right time, the company has been able to assist customers when they need it most.
SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS
The company uses social media channels to increase brand awareness and customer engagement. “We have been greatly successful in doing this. We have managed to increase our Facebook followers 10-fold in the last couple of years while our Twitter followers have increased 6-fold, while our YouTube subscribers and our LinkedIn followers too have grown over 20 times in the last 2 years. The main factor driving the growth of all our channels is dynamic content,” says Gagdani.
He adds: It is a perfect mix of engaging posts, quiz sessions pertaining to investments and stock market, and content that educates investors like ‘Market Mantra’ and ‘5P School’ (initiatives to help new and pro investors to help understand market and various strategies from scratch). We also publish various blogs that cover trending topics and issues, as well as sector based research stories.
He emphasizes that this humongous success on social media platforms has also enormously increased the responsibilities. “Our customers come to voice concerns on these channels rather than using the formal format to get the issues resolved. So, tactfully managing the grievance is a major challenge. Our major focus now is guiding the customers to get their issues resolved as even a minuscule number of issues can greatly hamper brand image on social platforms and this becomes extremely critical for a company like ours that is completely digital,” he adds.