Today, we are excited to announce our first investment in India — welcome to the Propel family, Groww!
Over the past year, consumer fintech in India has been a key focus area for my colleague, Rohit, and me for a number of reasons. Accessing simple financial services products has traditionally been confusing and expensive, recent policy reforms and initiatives have set the stage for an innovation-friendly environment and the country’s demographic trends make it an attractive market for investment.
However, Propel’s India connection runs deeper than just the excitement about market fundamentals. Before joining Propel, Rohit invested in a number of Indian startups and lived in Pune for the majority of the past three years. When it comes to making optimal investment decisions, Rohit has seen the challenges facing India’s mass affluent segment that their global peers don’t experience.
Rethinking the retail investing experience
The macro level attractiveness of India is widely known. With the world’s second largest population and highest (among major economies) GDP growth, India is poised to emerge as the fifth largest economy by 2020. Moreover, with an expanding workforce, growing income per capita and high savings rate, the wealth management industry in India has also been among the fastest growing in the world.
But as Ashish Agrawal (our co-investor from Sequoia India) eloquently pointed out, the country’s asset allocation is unique when compared to developed markets globally. While some of the uniqueness can be explained by cultural preferences, there have also been structural barriers that make participation in simple financial products (i.e. mutual funds) confusing, expensive, and generally unenjoyable to use. As such, we strongly believe there is an opportunity to bring transparency and advice to help Indian consumers make better investment decisions. This belief is one of the many reasons we chose to support Groww, an investment platform that aims to make online investing as easy as shopping online.
When Rohit and I visited Bangalore to spend time with the Groww team, we were extremely impressed with the company’s data-driven approach to product development. The company’s founders leverage the same principles of simplicity and customer-centricity that they learned at Flipkart. They are thoughtful and quantitative about measuring engagement and have made a concerted effort to build a trustworthy brand. The Groww team knows that trustworthy brands are built on top of unparalleled customer service and support, which helped shape the company’s core values.
- Customer comes first
- Build simple products
- Be transparent
The team fundamentally believes that customers’ feedback, interactions and data experience should dictate all decisions. Business motivations are secondary. As Lalit Keshre (Groww’s co-founder and CEO) explained to us, financial success comes once you create a beautiful customer experience. We agree.
In a very short period of time, the team has proven their ability to deliver a beautiful customer experience. Since launching its investment product in 2017, Groww has been among the fastest growing companies we have encountered globally, without compromising on efficient customer acquisition.
As fintech specialists, the Propel team has had the opportunity to invest and work with several successful high growth fintech companies around the world such as Personal Capital & Coinbase. We too strongly believe that customer-centricity and simplicity are critical to building a successful platform, and to our delight, Groww cracked this code earlier than most.
We feel privileged to have the opportunity to partner with Lalit, Harsh, Neeraj, Ishan and the rest of the Groww team to help revolutionize retail investing in India. We look forward to many more investments in India to come.
Propel Venture Partners is a San Francisco-based venture capital firm focused on investment opportunities at the intersection of technology and financial services. The Propel team believes the future of financial services will be realized by rethinking and rebuilding, and partners with technology-driven entrepreneurs who are transforming the market with their vision and expertise.