Zerodha co-founders Nithin and Nikhil Kamath have made a commitment to donate 25 per cent of their wealth for philanthropic purposes. The announcement adds them to the list of several other billionaires across the globe who have made similar pledges.
What is Zerodha?
Zerodha is a company that has made trading barrier-free possible. It is India’s first discount brokerage company. In the era of digitisation, Zerodha has established itself in the stockbroking industry. The company has grown purely on the principle of technology via giving valuable services to its customers.
Zerodha initiated its journey with a team of merely five people and now it employs more than 1,200 people. The unique idea of the Kamath brothers, along with great use of technology has taken this startup to the level we see it today. It is India’s number 1 stockbroker, it is the most popular and largest online broker that offers services to invest in equity, currency, commodity, IPO and direct mutual funds.
The Story of Zerodha’s Success
Zerodha is derived from the Sanskrit word Rodha which means Obstructions. The name Zerodha means ‘No Obstructions’. Hence, the founder aimed at providing a hassle-free, low brokerage trading platform. He targeted clients who are young and more tech-savvy to contribute to the capital market ecosystem.
Nithin Kamath, when founded this discount broking firm, decided to provide technology-efficient and cost-efficient services to its customers. He observed that there is a huge lag between the commissions charged by the other brokerage firms and the amount of money actually received by the customers.
In addition to that, the technology that was used was too old and Nithin felt the need to introduce a smart platform that enables users to trade online comfortably. He thought of providing services at a low cost where the idea of charging low commission clicked into his mind.
He also wanted to attract more young customers who often do not enter into trading due to high commission charges. With this aim, he started his firm and today it has become the biggest discount broking firm. He believes if we do not depend too much on foreign capital and invest in our own companies, the day is not far when India will become an economically strong country.
The Kamath Brothers
According to the IIFL Hurun Rich List 2021, Nithin Kamath has a net worth of almost ₹26,000 crores, while younger brother Nikhil has a net worth of around ₹11,000 crores. The pledge, which will be effective throughout their lifetimes, is in addition to the $100 million they pledged to the Rainmatter Foundation to tackle climate change.
“Philanthropy is an extension of the investments I make. While the measure for evaluating investments in stocks is to make greater gains, philanthropy is an extension of the same sentiment-the difference in philanthropy is that your measure is where you make the greatest impact,” Nikhil Kamath said in a statement to Mint.
Young India Philanthropic Pledge
In the past decade, several billionaires have pledged a portion of their wealth to charitable causes. In 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet created the ‘Giving Pledge’, a commitment through which wealthy individuals can pledge a majority of their wealth to charity. According to its website, Giving Pledge includes more than 200 of the world’s wealthiest individuals, couples and families, ranging in age from their 30s to their 90s. Globally, they represent 27 countries.
On similar lines, the Young India Philanthropic Pledge (YIPP) was launched with an aim to encourage more young entrepreneurs to undertake philanthropic activities. The initiative also aims to mitigate the paralysis of efficient utilisation of funds donated in a sustained manner. Under the YIPP, the young entrepreneurs under the age of 45 years can sign to pledge 25% of their wealth with a minimum spend of Rs 1 Crore per year. The Zerodha founders have pledged 25 per cent of their wealth to this cause.
“The wealth would be distributed for building a think-tank for strategic intervention and to support grassroots efforts. It would go towards poverty alleviation, refugee aid, disaster relief, women and girls’ empowerment, medical research, criminal justice reform, environmental sustainability, art and culture, and global health. The pledge will not include any political or religious causes, and there will be a detailed reporting of the financial spend at the end of every year,” Kamath said.
Current members and advisers to YIPP include a mix of unicorn co-founders, entrepreneurs and social workers, including Sujeet Kumar, co-founder of Udaan; Prashanth Prakash, partner at Accel; Ravindran Pai, managing director of Century Real Estate Holdings; Amitabh Shah, founder of Yuva Unstoppable; and Anil Shetty, an independent investment banker and social worker.