MEDICI now! Startup Stories highlights the companies that are shaping the new Financial Technology industry. Keep an eye out each week for new stories! If you or someone you know should be highlighted, send us a note. Without further ado…
Company Name: Expowealth Technologies Private Limited
Name/Title: Kushal Kothari, CEO and Co-founder
Industry Segment: Robo-advisory, investments/financial planning
Target: Markets: India
LTP: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Kushal Kothari: I am the CEO and Co-founder of Expowealth, a personal finance portal focused on investments and financial planning. Having spent a couple of years in investment banking and finance, I realized that technology still hasn’t touched the mass retail audience in an impactful, meaningful way. Also, financial services continue to be a push-based product selling business rather than an advisory business. That’s where me and my colleague Arjun got thinking of technology-enabled solutions that can address the various problems faced by a retail investor and thus began Expowealth.
LTP: Give us a paragraph pitch of your company.
KK: We are revolutionizing the way Indians manage their financial investments. We sell financial advice/financial management solutions for a subscription. We are currently a direct mutual fund platform for researching, investing and tracking MF portfolio. We plan to develop and offer various investment and advisory solutions in the near future.
LTP: In a sentence or two, what problem are you solving today?
KK: We are catering to the need of better returns with commission-free, unbiased, algorithmic investment planning.
LTP: Who are you selling to?
KK: We are selling to any retail investor who makes investment decisions for himself/family. He/she is primarily doing this online or is wanting to go online and consolidate his/her investment planning process.
LTP: Why did you start the company?
KK: While institutions have the know-how and access to resources in the financial system, an average retail investor does not have the same privilege. As a result, they often struggle to manage their investments, make the right decisions and often end up investing in ill-suited products. We think a technological solution which brings transparency to the system and is built on logical decision making can democratize the access to sound investment advice.
LTP: What's the most important change coming to your segment in the next 3-5 years?
KK: If you track the journey of the user, a lot of fulfillment of solutions still happens offline. Also, lack of interoperability between service providers creates barriers in consumer movement. Over the next few years, a majority of origination and fulfillment will happen online and there will be complete mobility of a user from one service provider to another. There will be a strong focus on advisory and convenience as value additive services which will be directly monetized from the user and not as commissions from product manufacturers
LTP: What’s your next milestone?
KK: We are working on algorithms to personalize the investment recommendation based on the user’s existing portfolio and his profile, which will be beyond a product recommendation and inch slowly towards robo-planning rather than just robo-investment.
LTP: If you could change one thing that financial services people do incorrectly, what would that be?
KK: Most financial services for retail users are monetized by selling products, which is the source of a serious conflict of interests. By design, the focus of the organization shifts towards selling products without taking much into consideration the user profile. This is the source of trust deficit which the entire industry is struggling to deal with.
LTP: Anything else you want to say to our audience? [Like contact info]
KK: We are very focused on simplifying the investment process for the user, even though what happens on the backend is actually very complex. Any feedback, comment or query is much appreciated at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bonus – User’s Choice Question!
LTP: What keeps you awake at night?
KK: The one thing that keeps me awake is the amount of noise in the investments space. There are so many claims by so many service providers that they end up completely confusing the retail investor. In a way though, it works for us in being able to provide a simplified, unbiased experience.
LTP: Thank you, Kushal!
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