Amazon Enters India Wealth Management with Investment in Smallcase Technologies

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Amazon.com Inc. has made its maiden investment in India’s wealth management sector, participating in a $40 million round by fintech startup Smallcase Technologies Pvt.

The Bangalore-headquartered startup said the round was led by Faering Capital Pvt and also joined by another new investor PremjiInvest, the private investment office of technology billionaire Azim Premji. Existing backers including Sequoia Capital India and Blume Ventures also participated, bringing the total capital raised by the firm to over $60 million.

Smallcase was founded in 2015 by three friends Vasanth Kamath, Anugrah Shrivastava and Rohan Gupta, all alumni of the premier Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. It’s riding an unprecedented pandemic-fueled retail investor boom in India’s equity markets and its user base has doubled to more than 3 million users in the past year.

Smallcase improves digital access to capital markets by offering weighted portfolios of stocks and exchange traded funds from in-house licensed professionals as well as access to independent investment managers, brokerages and wealth platforms. It has tie-ups with a dozen brokerages in the country, and distributes its products via broker partners, wealth advisers and offline agents.

“A new set of younger, high risk-taking investors are participating in the capital markets and they want complete transparency,” Kamath, the chief executive officer, said in a video interview. “We build simpler, low-cost investment products, each reflecting a theme, a strategy or objective.”

In the past year, Smallcase has more than doubled the volume of orders, Kamath said. It has 200 employees, with nearly two-thirds in technology and product engineering.

The capital will be used to expand its investment products in asset classes like mutual funds, global equities and bonds. The startup wants to grow its technology platform and further build its distribution network.

The investment in Smallcase opens a new frontier for Amazon in wealth management. The e-commerce giant has previously invested in other fintech startups in India, including the insurance player Acko General Insurance Ltd., as well credit provider Capital Float.

Photograph: The logo for Amazon.com Inc. is displayed on an Apple iPhone in an arranged photograph taken in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday, April 10, 2020. Photo credit: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg.

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