Business Standard

'We want to empower investors in Bharat,' says StockEdge's Vinay Pagaria

'Retail investors have the capability to be smart themselves, provided we can remove the complexity from the process of learning,' says StockEdge's co-founder

Vinay Pagaria

Vinay Pagaria

Amrita Singh
The explosion of retail trading activity on app-based platforms has created a new sense of responsibility for fintech players in the field of education. They are creating tools to accelerate the pace of learning for investors to ensure they do not end up burning their fingers in the market. Vinay Pagaria, co-founder of Kolkata-based StockEdge, tells Amrita Singh how technology is empowering new and old investors alike by taking the complexity out of learning. Edited excerpts:

As a fintech player in the field of education, what was the idea behind StockEdge?

StockEdge was started in 2016 with the idea of empowering retail investors. We provide deep data analytics in a very simple format so that ordinary investors can make informed decisions. Recently, we also launched a service that allows investors to transact using StockEdge via their respective broker. For this, we have partnered with 14 different brokers, either directly or via gateway, so that people who have formed their research opinion can place their trades directly from the StockEdge platform.

Can technology help people who are intimidated by the vast lexicon of financial terms and the years required to master them?

So far, most retail investors had only been following stock names and their prices. Someone would tell them that XYZ stock is doing very well, buy it — that’s all they used to know. We have always believed, however, that retail investors have the capability to be smart themselves, provided we can remove the complexity from the process of learning. If we can provide them with the right information, at the click of a button, on their mobile phones, they can observe, track, analyse and start understanding the nuances of how the market works. StockEdge provides a platform for integrated learning and analytics that progressively make an investor more knowledgeable and confident of his or her actions. For any financial concept that an investor comes across in the app, he can simply click an “i” icon next to the term and get a quick explanation of the concept, along with a short learning video.

What are the ways in which you are taking the complexity out of learning?

We have various tools that make researching stocks as easy as asking a question. One can simply get answers to questions such as which are the companies in India that are consistently increasing their turnover or stocks that are showing a bullish pattern. To keep it simple for all, we have all these questions and their answers pre-compiled for our users. This makes it easy for investors to (a) identify stocks to invest in and (b) figure out how their own stocks are doing.

For example, many companies organise a conference call at quarterly intervals. Most people rarely have the time to either participate in these calls or read the full transcripts. We have started publishing conference call summaries that provide a two-page gist of the discussions. These reports also come with a sentiment tracker to identify the underlying tone of the discussions. So, we have this artificial intelligence (AI) tool that can scan the financial terms in the report and track sentiments throughout the document to tell investors whether the overall mood is positive or negative.

How are you leveraging tech, particularly AI and machine learning (ML), in the learning process?

We believe in the synthesis of artificial intelligence and human intelligence. We have identified use cases where ML or AI can be used for real value generation for an investor. For example, we have made it easier for people to follow large investors like Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Companies publish their shareholding details every quarter, but these shareholder names come with a lot of spelling mistakes. Also, a large investor may have family members who are shareholders in companies. We have taken all this data and then trained our ML tools to be able to compile the consolidated shareholding of such famous investors. One can easily follow where they are increasing their stake, where they are cashing out from and use that information to form their own opinion.

Who is the platform aimed at and has the correction in the market put people off learning?

Our typical user is the working professional who spends 15 minutes on an average on the app — and the usage peaks after 7 pm. We have over 2 million registered users. Nearly 80 per cent of the data and basic analytics are available free of cost and premium analytics are delivered under a subscription plan.

While the markets have corrected a bit, people who suffer losses also realise the importance of knowledge and often start learning more through online videos, courses and analytical tools during such times.

Indian households have among the lowest exposure to equity in the world at about 14 per cent. How can tech help in improving this number?

The trend is growing. More people from tier II and III cities are entering the market than ever before. Lockdown and mobile penetration have increased the awareness among new users and using the right technology can empower a lot more people. We wanted to make StockEdge available to the vernacular audience. Using the right mix of translation and transliteration algorithms we have been able to offer the entire application in Hindi and Bengali.

We have seen a distinct increase in the Hindi-speaking users on the platform. Patna and Lucknow are among the top cities where our users are located. We intend to reach the real Bharat and empower the existing and new investors.

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: May 26 2022 | 1:18 PM IST

Explore News