Nikhil Kamath: From Chess to CIO | SALT Talks #200 | Summary and Q&A

April 13, 2021
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Nikhil Kamath: From Chess to CIO | SALT Talks #200


Nikhil Kamath, co-founder of Zerodha and True Beacon, discusses his journey from professional chess player to successful entrepreneur in the fintech industry, highlighting the growth and opportunities in the Indian market.

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Key Insights

  • ♟️ Kamath's non-traditional background as a chess player turned stock trader showcases the importance of passion and timing in finding success in the financial industry.
  • 😘 Zerodha's success in revolutionizing Indian financial market access highlights the demand for transparent and low-fee brokerage services.
  • 🎓 The future of education may involve multiple careers and a greater emphasis on practical knowledge over traditional structured education.
  • 🇮🇴 India's entrepreneurial landscape has grown rapidly over the past decade, attracting more attention, capital, and liquidity to Indian startups.
  • ❓ The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and increased interest in financial markets, benefiting companies like Zerodha.
  • 🐕‍🦺 Banking is the next sector in the fintech industry that is ripe for disruption, with potential for more fragmented banking models and improved customer-centric services.
  • 😒 Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have a use case, but the current valuations may not be justified. The technology has potential, but regulation and anonymity issues may pose challenges.


hello everyone and welcome back to salt talks my name is john darcy i'm the managing director of salt which is a global thought leadership forum and networking platform at the intersection of finance technology and public policy salt talks are a digital interview series with leading investors creators and thinkers and our goal on these salt talks i... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did Nikhil Kamath decide to pursue a career in trading at such a young age?

Kamath's decision to pursue trading was organic, influenced by people around him who were already trading. He found a natural liking for it and saw it as a career with no minimum qualifications or exams required.

Q: What was Kamath's vision for Zerodha and how did it disrupt the traditional brokerage industry in India?

Kamath and his brother started Zerodha to eliminate the high fees charged by brokers in India. They developed a transparent and cost-effective platform that gained popularity organically. Zerodha's success is attributed to its low fees, user-friendly interface, and capturing the market at a time when fintech innovation was limited.

Q: Does Nikhil Kamath have any mentors or a personal board of directors?

Kamath does not believe in having mentors, but he considers his brother and long-time colleagues as his personal board of directors. He believes in learning from various sources and being influenced by different perspectives.

Q: What motivated Kamath to start True Beacon and disrupt the asset management space in India?

Kamath started True Beacon after facing inefficiencies and high fees when trying to allocate his personal money to third-party funds. He saw an opportunity to create a transparent and client-aligned asset management firm that eliminates setup fees, exit loads, and lock-in periods.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Nikhil Kamath started trading stocks at the age of 17 after giving up a career in chess. He co-founded Zerodha, the largest retail brokerage platform in India, with a goal to revolutionize access to the Indian financial market.

  • Zerodha aimed to disrupt the traditional asset management industry by offering a transparent, low-fee, and tech-driven strategy. The platform has over 3 million users and facilitates orders worth $10 billion per day.

  • Kamath also co-founded True Beacon, an asset management firm that focuses on eliminating inefficiencies in the industry and offering a client-aligned approach.

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