India's PhonePe is getting into stock and mutual fund investment, the latest in a series of expansions by the Walmart-backed payments app as it looks to leverage its 450 million-plus user base to win in new categories.
The Bengaluru-headquartered startup, which has raised $850 million in recent quarters, launched an app called Share.Market on Wednesday that will allow users to open their trading accounts and invest in stocks, mutual funds and ETFs.
Stock broking is the latest offering from PhonePe, which also recently expanded to e-commerce with an app called Pincode. The firm, valued at $12 billion, is also looking to launch an app store, TechCrunch previously reported.
With Share.Market, PhonePe is entering a crowded market that is attempting to serve an audience of about 10 million to 15 million, according to most estimates. Zerodha, a bootstrapped startup, currently leads the stock-broking market and is planning to enter the mutual fund space. Peak XV–backed Groww, Mirae Asset–backed Dhan, Steadview Capital–backed INDmoney, Tiger Global–backed Upstox, and Amazon-backed Smallcase are other formidable players in the category.
PhonePe is attempting to differentiate itself in the new space by aggressively discounting the broking price -- 24 cents or 0.05%, whichever is lower -- and offering broader quantitative research and trading strategies, it said.
"In the last few years, we have seen an increase in the percentage of savings going into equities in a big way. There is a vibrant growth in the active trading community which trades with different objectives. We believe Share.Market will propel this growth with the backing of our technological prowess, reach, seamless onboarding, and superior product experience," said Ujjwal Jain, chief executive of Share.Market, in a statement.
The 2021 bull market enticed a significant number of Indians to venture into stock investments for the first time. Wealth management is also gaining traction in India. Jio Financial Services, the financial arm of the Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, forged a partnership with the U.S. asset management giant BlackRock. This joint venture aims to present diverse investment opportunities to Indians.
"Our goal is to offer the benefits of discount broking while creating lasting value for our customers as they invest and trade. We will continue to invest in advanced technology, data, research, and immersive experiences to offer these benefits at scale and drive this new era of value led discount broking coupling intelligence with broking," said Stock.Market's Jain.