Personal financial management is very important for every individual. Majority of the population in India lacks knowledge about personal finance and due to this lack of understanding, many are deprived of the opportunity of wealth creation.
Vivek Bajaj, a major in finance from IIM, Indore felt the need of educating the financial system to the people of India. To give a shape to this thought, he started his journey with Kredent InfoEdge in 2008. The company focused on training retail investors on various aspects of financial markets. To expand the financial education widely, he along with his partner Vineet Patawari, started an online finance training venture called elearnmarkets.com in 2014 which became popular quickly. It now has 150,000 learners from over 200 cities in India.
Another major step in helping people manage their finances themselves was launch of an app named ‘STOCK EDGE’. In building StockEdge third partner Vinay Pagaria joined hand with the duo. The app was launched in May 2016. The app is the highest rated app having a rating of 4.6 and over 1.5 MILLION downloads with an active user base of 250,000.
Currently, the company has 100+ employees and 7,00,000 registered users from all projects. Recently, they also received an award from TIE Kolkata – Emerging start-up of the year.
Vivek is a pass out in finance from IIM Indore. After working with JM Financials, he joined his family business and expanded it to a setup of 300 people. His passion to give back to society led him to start his journey with Kredent Academy in 2008. He is known as one of the thought leaders and is a part of various committees of stock exchanges. Vivek has been accompanied by Vineet Patawari and Vinay Pagaria. Vineet Patawari, also a pass out of IIM Indore and a Chartered Accountant, had an inspiration of building internet based scalable businesses. He shunned campus job offers and started his eLearning venture into MBA entrance exam preparatory. He later joined hands with Vivek to expand in the financial education space. Vinay Pagaria, Chartered Account by qualification but a hard-core techie by profession, has had 15 years of experience in software development in the FinTech domain. His passion of product development combined with Vivek’s passion of the stock market led to the birth of StockEdge.
We had a talk with Mr. Vivek Bajaj, the founder of the financial education system- Kredent InfoEdge and learnt more about the venture that believes in Simplifying finance for all.
Please explain your venture to us in brief. When did you join the business? What have you brought to the table?
Poor financial education is a major problem in society and Kredent InfoEdge was the earlier ones to realize this. Since 2008, the organization has been focused on training retail investors on various aspects of financial management. The offline center Kredent Academy, through various modules has trained over 10,000 participants till date.
Elearnmarkets.com, the online financial learning venture was launched in 2014 with the purpose of taking financial education to all over the country. As of date, there are over 200,000 learners from over 200 cities in India taking over 120 finance learning modules which are certified by NSE Academy, MCX, NCDEX, etc.
Apart from providing full financial knowledge to retail investors and helping them to become less dependent on intermediaries, Kredent InfoEdge is also developing tools which would help everyone to become a ‘do-it-yourself’ market participant. One of the tools launched in May 2016 is StockEdge App. As of date, the app has over 1.5 MILLION downloads with an active user base of 300,000 and rating of 4.6 which makes it the highest rated finance app in this category in India. StockEdge is a freemium app with almost 1 BILLION data points in its database and has recently introduced a premium plan with value added features like thematic watchlist, portfolio of ACE investors and ready strategies. We have also launched the StockEdge Club, a community of stock market investors to focus on learning and networking.
What makes this particular concept different? Are there competitors? If so, how do you stand out?
Kredent InfoEdge is a niche player concentrating on the finance sector, which intends to meet lifetime needs of learning finance, tracking financial markets, earning & managing money. No other existing platform combines all the requirements of a learner & practitioner of finance in such a compact and simple manner. Kredent InfoEdge works with a single objective of Simplifying Finance for All.
The industry is fragmented with various people doing various work independently. We are trying to work on an integrated model with right knowledge as a core requirement of the user. For example, the financial market training industry is very fragmented having various individual trainers. Elearnmarkets is a platform which brings together learners and subject matter experts related to finance. Similarly, StockEdge gives investors and traders access to refined data of 6000+ companies. It also provides readymade scans, watchlists, portfolio of ace investors and much more.
Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? What is the current turnover?
In the first few years, the focus was more oriented towards social responsibility. However, since 2014, there was a shift in vision as well as in orientation as we updated technology for the purpose of reaching a larger audience with cutting edge products. In FY 2018-19, Kredent InfoEdge generated a revenue of Rs.5.5 crore.
What is the revenue model?
Our current revenue comes from offering online financial training through Elearnmarkets and through subscription of data analytics services through our StockEdge app. We are also developing further tools which will add transaction revenue in future.
Who are the consumers that you are targeting with the innovation? How is this going to affect them?
Our target audience is people who are first timers in financial management. The first timers could be youngsters (around 3.5 crores students are pursuing graduation and above qualifications in India), job seekers, young earners as well as retiree among the population of India. Basically, anyone who is interested in getting into formal financial instruments is our best TG as they need proper knowledge and mentorship which is currently grossly lacking in the industry. Our integrated solution will help individuals to become independent in their decision making.
What is the potential of growth?
There are 75 crore unique bank account holders in India. Out of which ONLY 2 crores are invested in mutual funds and LESS THAN 1 crore invests in direct equity market. Only 1.5% of India’s population is investing in non-banking financial products. This is leading to poor wealth creation and distribution. The core reason behind such a lag is poor financial literacy, lack of access of data and biased analytics from various intermediaries. We believe that we can become a major catalyst to the change required and help better financial inclusion in India.
Where did the initial capital for the innovation come? What returns does it have?
Seed capital was invested by a financial service firm based out of Kolkata. Later a pre series A was concluded in 2018 by with investments from market stewards like Shri Ramesh Damani, Shri Ajay Sharma and Shri Dinesh Agarwal, owner of indiamart.com. Currently the business is in the investment stage.
What is the strength of the organization and the scale of operations?
Kredent InfoEdge has 100+ employees who are our biggest strength. Apart from them, we have over 700,000 registered user base combining all products.
Give us a brief background of what you were doing before starting the venture.
After working in Mumbai at JM Financials, I joined my family business of proprietary trading and expanded it to 300 people setup. Armed with a major in finance from IIM Indore and a passion to give back to society I started the financial market education wing in the name of Kredent Academy in the year 2008. The objective was also to groom the right talent for trading and/or research and then add them to the trading desk.
What are your Future plans?
We want to become an integrated solution provider for individual investors in India in the domain of personal financial management. We started with knowledge offerings because it is the core DNA of our organization. Through knowledge we are helping the users to connect with us and consume our various forms of content like video, analysis tool, learning tool etc.
We would like to nurture the large population of our country by adapting to localize content and make them capable of taking their financial decisions independently. We also intend to offer the final leg of engagement with our users, by offering them transaction services in all assets and liability products related to an individual.
We have kept a target of connecting with 1 crore Indians by 2020.
How do you look to allocate the funds?
We received Pre-Series A funding lead by renowned stock market investor Mr. Ramesh Damani and others. We’re looking to raise Series A round within the year 2020. The funds will be used to further upgrade our existing products (Elearnmarkets and StockEdge) and to develop a tech-based platform for personal financial management. Other than product development and upgrading, the funds will be utilized for building a marketing chest.
What challenges did you face when you were starting out?
In India everyone perceives himself or herself as an expert, especially when it comes to managing money. Generally people are ready to lose money by making wrong decisions but not invest in their own learning and development. However, this mindset is gradually changing as traditional methods of financial management are also evolving. Especially the young population, millennials are changing the business landscape across industries. We believe due to our thrust on knowledge; we will be a major beneficiary in the ecosystem.