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Users couriered 40-page forms, took 6 years to get 60K customers, says Zerodha CEO

ISN Team
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Zerodha co-founder & CEO Nithin Kamath revealed the process of onboarding customers prior to digitization in India.

Nithin recalled customers had to sign and courier 40+ pages of forms and wait for days for the account activation. 

Due to this, Zerodha, which is now India's largest discount brokerage firm, took six years to get their first 60,000 customers, he said.

"It took us 6 years to get to our first 60k customers, each of whom had to sign and courier 40+ pages of forms and wait for days," Nithin wrote in a tweet.


What was the impact of digitization?

Nithin further said that due to digitization, the company managed to get 1 crore customers in the next six years, eliminating paper in the process through eKYC, digital signatures (eSign), and digital documents (Digilocker). 

We got to 1 crore customers in the next 6, entirely eliminating paper in the process. This was enabled by eKYC, digital signatures (eSign), & digital documents (Digilocker). 

According to Nithin, Digitisation increases productivity savings and wastage reduction for companies and customers.

He highlighted the benefit of digitization stating that hundreds of millions of pages didn’t have to be printed and transported, saving the customers time.

"Most of our time in the first six years was spent figuring out how to send forms back and forth collecting docs," Nithin wrote.

How digitization affected Zerodha's operations?

Nithin writes that in late 2017 Zerodha had 900 employees with around 5 lakh customers. "Now, we serve 1.3 crore customers with a team of approximately 1100 members," Nithin said.

"Today, we have 1.3 crore customers with ~1100 on the team. And this while our customer support quality has improved significantly. We have done many other things right, but doing away with the physical process has helped exponentially," he wrote.

Zerodha has notably lowered the risks during customer onboarding by implementing digital processes.

This allows customers to use their digital identity and signature directly, replacing the need for physical forms, documents, and signatures that involve multiple intermediaries.

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