Last year, a record 6.8 million new demat accounts were opened between April and October, indicating the rising interest among people in equity markets and various investment options. Money9 spoke to Vineet Patawari, co-founder and CEO, Elearnmarkets and StockEdge, to understand how his BFSI learning portal and equity research app is helping the uninitiated get started with stock market investments.
Q: What prompted you to launch your venture in the fintech space?
Patawari: In 2014 we realised that the Financial Market Education industry in India is very unstructured and fragmented. Hence, we launched Elearnmarkets to streamline and structure the journey for individuals who want to make a career in the financial markets.
It is a unique interactive online education platform which is committed to taking practical oriented finance training to the next level. Here we use technology to spread knowledge, our courses make use of high-end and interactive Learning Management System. We also provide a platform to market experts and enables practical experience sharing with the learners. This helps us create a large pool of learners who are well trained, skilled and a perfect fit to fill the manpower requirement of the industry.
In 2016, we launched our second product StockEdge (SE), which started as a sidekick to help learners get structured data of listed companies along with cutting edge analytics. StockEdge has now turned into full-fledged equity and mutual fund research tool with the app garnering over 2 million downloads it has become the growth driver for the organization.
For an enhanced learning experience, the analytics, data, financial statements from SE are integrated with the respective course modules.
Q: Can you elucidate how your entity is helping boost financial inclusion?
Patawari: The chief differentiator is the practical orientation in learning incorporated through expert lead tutorials backed by various interactive learning tools with real market data. Moreover, we make the best of the trainers available. Those trainers used to charge very high amounts earlier because they used to teach 20 people in a seminar mode. Now, we are doing that online at a time where there are 500 people coming and we are charging a sum of Rs 300. The trainer is getting the same amount but the student is paying only 1% of that what he was paying earlier. So, it is a win-win situation for everyone.
Q: How has the journey been so far since your launch and what have been the key challenges and learnings for you?
Patawari: In India, everyone is an expert, especially when it comes to managing money. The general perception is that people are ready to lose money by taking wrong decisions but are not willing to invest in their learning and development. Hence, the biggest challenge faced is the mindset of people to pay for learning.
Most old school market participants in India believe that they know everything and even if they don’t know anything, there are enough intermediaries in the market available to teach them about various concepts, free of charge.
But the challenges are now less as this mindset is gradually changing, especially among the young population. Millennials are changing the business landscape across industries. They are now taking it upon themselves to learn, upskill and invest money. We believe that due to our thrust on knowledge, we will be a major beneficiary in the ecosystem.
Q: What is the vision driving Elearnmarkets?
Patawari: Elearnmarkets has now become the biggest financial market eLearning platform in India with over 60,000 minutes on recorded content and continuous live classes. We have trained over 700K verified registered learners via Elearnmarkets with certification from NSE Academy, MCX, NCDEX . In this niche segment, Elearnmarkets hosts more than 100 experts and 150+ courses. Assisted thousands of students with placement & internships. All aspects of financial market covered and trainings provided at affordable price in 7 languages other than English including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and so on. We have trained lacs of students for free via Elearnmarkets website with courses as well as Youtube channel with 475K+ subscribers.
Q: What do you think is holding back the Indian fintech space?
Patawari: The year 2020 was a very unique year in itself where a lot of the technology-based start-ups were going up when all the other start-ups that were not leveraging technology as a business tool were going down. The reason behind this being that everyone was at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the following lockdowns, people were turning digital.
So, all the edtech startups and fintech startups witnessed a huge surge because everything went online and people started opening Demat accounts to try out trading. So we at Elearnmarkets and StockEdge were at the juncture as a platform that serves as both ed tech as well as fintech.
In terms of the startup scenario overall, I feel that we are at the best of the times and that people are accepting. The biggest thing in my opinion is not the availability of funding but the juncture where people are actually accepting your product. So, suddenly education technology has become an accepted thing now. It has penetrated your home in multiple ways as your kids are learning, you are learning online. So that is something which is going to change the landscape of the entire digital start-ups which we have in our country and they will grow much faster from here on, as this is what I think.
Q. What would you advise to youngsters looking to begin their financial investment journey, and the move towards financial independence?
I personally believe that it is ‘Perseverance’! Once you start you need to stick to it because to experience the power of compounding, you need to give it time. Don’t get blinded by the glamour that you see on social media being associated with stock markets.
Good things take time and it’s the same for your financial investment journey. In this journey, you should look at trading for the short term goals of generating money. Whereas investment is your tool to generate long term wealth. Trading requires a specific skill set and is a short term activity to its comparison investment is a game of patience and time. You should stick to your investment plans and not get scared by short term fluctuations in the markets.”
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