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UPSTOX-The Unicorn Broker

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  • UPSTOX-The Unicorn Broker

    You must have come across the name “UPSTOX” if you are a cricket lover and IPL(Indian Premier League) watcher. UPSTOX is India's first brokerage firm to be an official partner of India's most popular cricket league IPL, which created lots of buzz among the youths. With a 3X- Year-On-Year growth, Upstox is India's one of the fastest growing investment and trading platform.

    Backed by Mr.RATAN TATA and TIGER GLOBAL (Investment firm), UPSTOX stood as a trusted brand and has successfully onboarded 1 crore users in 2022. In series-C fundraising from Tiger Global in 2021, the company valuation crossed 3.5Billion dollars which is higher than its close rivals ZERODHA and GROWW.

    Based on Dadar(West) Mumbai, the company witnessed a growth of 10x in just two years during the covid pandemic customer flow. A user-friendly platform and a better product experience (stocks, ETFs, Mutual funds, and Digital Golds) caused UPSTOX’s meteoric rise. Like Zerodha, UPSTOX also provides a commission-free Direct Mutual Fund platform.

    The name of the company was initially RKSV securities. Later in 2016, the name got changed to UPSTOX.

    According to the Upstox founders, more than 60% of its customers are new to the market. Almost 75% of its customers are under the age 35yrs. 85% of the trades are done using smartphones, and 70% of its customers are from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities in India.

    This has been possible because of easy paperless onboarding from 2016 onwards, with governments' push towards digital identity via Adhaar and digital payment awareness.

    Let’s know the brief journey of UPSTOX which started from a small apartment in Delhi in 2009 to one of the largest platforms in India. UPSTOX is also known as the biggest competitor of ZERODHA in the broking Industry and both pioneered the flat brokerage model in India.

    History

    UPSTOX(RKSV Securities Pvt. Ltd) was founded by two brothers Ravi Kumar, Raghu Kumar, and their friend Shrini Viswanath in the year 2009. It started when the discount brokers were not much popular in India and the equity participation in India was only 2%( currently in US common household participation in the equity market is above 50%). This tremendous growth potential in India motivated them in building a seamless, high technology-driven trading platform.

    They claim to be the first one in Industry to provide unlimited trading plans in the year 2012, with a mission giving access to the financial Markets to every Indian user. Founders Raghu, Ravi, and Shrini have started multiple start-ups in the USA before they shifted to India.

    The company caught the limelight when it got the investment of 4Mn dollars from Kalaari Capital in early 2016, in series-A funding. Also the same year it got funded by Mr. Ratan Tata. The association of Tata’s name increased its brand value.

    In 2016 UPSTOX was the first brokerage firm in India that provided paperless onboarding of customers.

    ZERODHA and UPSTOX both claim to be the first ones in offering a flat brokerage model in India. But factually both started offering almost at the same time around mid-2015 but ZERODHA had a big impact on the customers whereas UPSTOX was unable to penetrate much. But with VCs like Tiger Global Management’s huge funding UPSTOX got its wings and was able to close the gap with ZERODHA in the number of total customers and active clients.

    In 2019 the company raised 25Million dollars in series-B funding from Tiger Global. The company became a 3.5billion dollar Unicorn start-up after 2021 Series-C funding, led by Tiger Global. By 2022 first quarter UPSTOX has raised a total funding of 212 million dollars according to the Tracxn report.

    The company is somehow following the US-based Robin Hood Brokerage firm’s path from raising its unicorn valuation to offering free stocks which attracted a big crowd of customers. With Millions raised VC money, UPSTOX has been able to provide free Demat accounts along with 300-500Rs. referral bonus to both referrer and newly referred users.

    This Growth Hack by UPSTOX abled it on record-breaking onboarding of customers in any single month. And many times it got awarded by CDSL for that. Day by day UPSTOX is renovating its product for more investment options from providing digital gold (stopped now) to Mutual funds to keep such a large base of clients interested and retained in its platform.

    Till now the company has not been able to provide investment options in international and US stocks but promised to offer such a platform soon. Nowadays there is cutthroat competition among discount brokers those who are well funded by VCs and trying to provide a very low brokerage trading facility. But this has not impacted the business of UPSTOX and ZERODHA like well-established firms.

    The UPSTOX pro trading platform is very popular among options traders for its free option chain and strategy builder-like features. The option strategy builder allows you to construct different options and future strategies and analytics. In 2022 the company was able to cross the 60,000 Cr mark on trading turnover.

    They have designed their platform with rich educational offerings keeping beginners' needs in mind. Well-written learning initiatives is one of the key feature provided by UPSTOX.

    They also provide 3 in 1 account with the Indusind bank tie-up.

    Through UPSTOX you can avail MTF facility( Margin trading Facility) in which you can borrow funds from the broker and take delivery of stocks for up to 150 days.

    PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

    TRADING PLATFORM

    UPSTOX provides three ultrafast electronic trading platforms for investing and trading.

    UPSTOX PRO WEB- Designed to trade from any of your browsers.

    UPSTOX PRO MOBILE- This can be used on android and IOS and is an easy go. 85% of the trades are done through this app.

    NEST TRADING TERMINAL- It is still provided by UPSTOX but has been stopped in ZERODHA like brokers now.

    UPSTOX trading platform is reliable considering the downtime of its close rivals. It is very important for a broker's server not to be down during peak trading hours, which causes unnecessary losses. UPSTOX has proved itself as reliable in this scenario.

    Considering the availability of information with advanced charting tools, the platform is very easy to use.

    The platform provides both investing and trading options. With its new web version, the platform is providing very good research tools and smart filters for making very informed decisions in investing.

    INVESTMENT OPTIONS:-

    UPSTOX has always been emphasizing retail India's participation in the equity market.

    Here is what it offers for investing.

    STOCKS AND ETFs- UPSTOX provides investment opportunities in all listed stocks in NSE and BSE.

    You can also invest in any type of ETF like equity ETF, Debt ETFs, GOLD ETFs, and index ETFs, etc. SGB investment through the secondary market is possible through UPSTOX.

    Currently, investment outside the India facility is not available through UPSTOX but promised to launch it soon.

    The feature DISCOVER helps in filtering out stocks with key information.

    They offer free stocks/ETF at the time one signs up on their platform, to motivate the client to start trading and investing.

    UPSTOX has partnered with SMALL-CASE, where you can do theme based investing, through your UPSTOX account. You can choose different investment themes given by various fund managers and do sip in them.

    IPOs- They allow investing in Public Offerings 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, without any commissions. The platform also allows you to pre-apply IPOs through WhatsApp. Pre-applying for an IPO is a way to apply for IPOs in advance before they go Live. This feature is unique in UPSTOX and many of its tough competitors don’t provide pre-IPO facilities yet.

    Apart from that, any corporate action like buyback, takeover, or OFS through UPSTOX can also be applied for the stocks.

    MUTUAL FUND- UPSTOX doesn’t charge you anything for investing in mutual funds through its platform. You can start doing SIPs as low as 100Rs. You can select any category of Mutual funds and start investing in them. You can also apply for New fund offerings through it.

    GOLD:- UPSTOX used to provide digital gold on their platform, but they discontinued it after SEBI restrictions. However, generally investing in SGB(Sovereign Gold Bonds) and Gold ETFs is always better than physical and digital gold.

    The return from physical gold is always lesser compared to SGB and GOLD ETFs because of 10-15% making charges as well as 3% GST. So it's time one should choose gold bonds and ETFs rather than buying gold physically.

    They provide daily stock market updates and the latest news to track on their platform.

    FUTURES AND OPTIONs, COMMODITY & CURRENCY

    UPSTOX’s high-speed and data-driven platform encourages customers to trade in options and futures. The options chain and strategy builder-like features are unique and very help full for an option trader as data is very important in options trading.

    It also provides all MCX-listed commodity derivatives and NSE-listed currency derivatives for trading.

    The pricing is very competitive and cheap compared to its rivals.

    UPSTOX has also partnered with Sensibull for giving traders direct access to its trading platform. You can use the features like “Easy options” and “Strategy Wizard” for trading options, which will be provided by the sensibull-algo for you.

    CALCULATORS

    UPSTOX has many calculators in its platform like MF RETURN CALCULATOR, SIP CALCULATOR, SWP CALCULATOR, BROKERAGE CALCULATOR, NPS CALCULATOR, ELSS CALCULATORS, OPTIONS VALUE CALCULATOR and many more.

    These calculators are very helpful in making trading and investment decisions.

    LEARNING INITIATIVES

    UPSTOX is constantly educating its traders through its extensively written learning center. It has been always their motto in helping its clients to invest by providing the right financial education to make the right investment decisions at the right time.

    MARKET TALK-like blogs update their users on a daily basis about market views and reviews. They also have Youtube videos for daily updates like Daily Market Recap, and F&O Market Recap.

    Other Unique Features at UPSTOX

    DISCOVER- The discover section in the UPSTOX platform will help you in finding various opportunities for investing and trading. The features like top gainers, top ROCE, and different sectoral analysis is all provided in one place.

    GTT- This is one of the new popular features in UPSTOX. The Good till triggered (GTT) feature works like an order that is active until the trigger condition is met. This trigger will be valid for one year. This helps you not to monitor the stock prices actively.

    BASKET ORDER- Basket order helps you in placing multiple orders in one go. You can execute up to 4 orders in one basket at the same time. This is very helpful while making FNO strategies and their execution.

    MTF(MARGIN TRADING FACILITY)- This facility is not yet provided by most of its competitors yet. One can take a delivery trade for up to 150 days by using only 50% of its funds.

    OPTIONS STRATEGY BUILDER- The option strategy builder allows you to construct different options strategies.

    You can create an options strategy directly from the options chain and analyze the payoff graph.

    REFERRALS AND BONUS- Most of the client acquisition in UPSTOX comes from its referral programs. According to an article by ken.com 75% of its customers came from referrals and word of mouth out of which 65% of clients are acquired through referrals only.

    The referral bonus UPSTOX provides is well paid as compared to other brokers in the industry and its VC-fueled working capital enables the company to do so.

    FINANCIALS AND COMPETITION

    In the last financial year, UPSTOX reported a net loss of 72Cr while the company Revenue jumped by 200% to 385.64Cr but the operating expenses also hiked by 170%.

    The basic reason for its high operating expense is because of its high CAC(customer acquisition cost). Because of its expenditure on digital marketing, advertisements, and Referral bonuses, the acquisition cost per customer is very high and the problem with referred customers is the retention. They don’t tend to be serious enough and which leads to less revenue even after having such a huge client base.

    Groww also reported a net profit of 3Cr/- only but their biggest competitor ZERODHA reported a 1122Cr/- profit.

    But as UPSTOX has already become a trusted brand and a big name so the company may not have to spend much on customer onboarding in the future which may lead them to be good profitable in the coming days.

    SOME COMMON FAQs

    Why UPSTOX stopped providing Digital Gold?

    Ans- As per SEBI directives in this circular in august 2021, a broker can not sell Digital Gold anymore. So they had to stop selling digital Golds. However, you can always invest in better Gold products like Sovereign Gold Bonds and Gold ETFs through UPSTOX. Digital Gold is considered a financial liability by the SEBI after the National Spot Exchange Case.

    Can we do BTST trading at UPSTOX?

    Ans:-UPSTOX stopped the BTST facility after SEBI’s new upfront margin rule from 1st September 2020. You can sell the stock only after the stock is settled on the exchange that is on T+2 day. The penalties may appear in case of insufficient margin if they would allow it. so ultimately it is good for a novice trader who is beginning their stock market journey.

    Last updated on 11th Jul 2022

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