Zerodha was founded by Nithin Kamath, who also serves as its CEO. At the age of 17, he began trading stocks after being introduced to the markets by friends. He began investing in penny stocks. By the time he earned his engineering degree at the Bangalore Institute of Technology, he had amassed a substantial sum of money.

When the markets plummeted in 2001 and 2002, he lost everything he had, including Rs 5 lakh. Undeterred, he started working in a call centre at night to supplement his trading capital while trading equities throughout the day. This continued for a few years until he met an American HNI who handed him a check and asked Nithin to manage his finances. In 2006, he founded Kamath & Associates, a brokerage firm, and became a sub-broker for Reliance Money. Nithin established Zerodha in the middle of a trading slump in 2010, taking one of the biggest risks of his life.

The Kamath brothers, Nithin and Nikhil, established Zerodha on August 15, 2010. Zerodha is a combination of the terms “zero” and “rodha.” With a self-assessed valuation of over $1 billion in June 2020, Zerodha became a unicorn. This price was calculated using an ESOP repurchase of more than four times the book value of 700 per share.

Zerodha is India’s largest retail stockbroker, accounting for more than 15% of daily retail volumes across all Indian stock exchanges, with a client base of 5 million users. Delivery trades in equity are free; however, a flat fee of $20 or 0.03 percent (whichever is lesser) per completed order is paid across all segments for intraday trades of any size. Zerodha Commodities, a distinct yet wholly-owned firm, offers commodity trading for registered users.

True Beacon, a “alternative investment fund,” is also run by Zerodha. Rainmatter, an early-stage venture fund that primarily invests in technology-focused product startups, is also backed by the fund. Smallcase and ERPNext are two major investments.

In 2014 and 2015, Zerodha earned the BSE-Dun & Bradstreet Emerging Equity Broking House award. At the 2016 Economic Times Startup Awards, Zerodha was named Bootstrap Champ, and in 2018, it was named NSE Retail Broker of the Year. Zerodha won Startup of the Year at the 2020 Economic Times Startup Awards two years later.

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