In this interview, Ajay Lakhotia, Founder & CEO of StockGro explains how it creates an environment where users can make simulated investment decisions, learn from mistakes, and refine their strategies in a volatile market, and helps users understand and navigate the complexities of the Indian stock market, including political developments and global trends.
Read the complete interview:
TechGraph: Could you provide an overview of the current state of the Indian stock market? What trends and dynamics have you observed in recent times?
Ajay Lakhotia: In recent times, Indian markets have demonstrated remarkable resilience despite the challenges posed by inflation and geopolitical tensions. While international markets remained tense, India’s domestic equities gained significant momentum, powering the Nifty to an impressive 11% rally since the end of 2021.
India’s growing reputation as one of the best investment destinations among emerging markets is becoming increasingly evident. The strong buying interest from Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) and Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) underscores this positive perception.
Even in the face of global economic sluggishness, the growth of demat accounts in India continued unabated. May 2023 witnessed the addition of over 2.1 million new accounts, and domestic investors displayed unwavering commitment by consistently participating in the market despite volatility.
India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reached a significant milestone in 2023, surpassing that of the United Kingdom and becoming the world’s fifth-largest economy, with a GDP of $3.75 trillion. Projections suggest that India’s economy is poised for further growth, with an estimated 7% growth rate, positioning the country to reach $5 trillion in the coming years.
The overall optimism in the Indian market has not only bolstered investor sentiment but also strengthened consumer demand, as reflected in the growth of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies.
Moreover, the tax slab reforms introduced in the Union Budget of 2023 are expected to have a positive impact on disposable income and consumption patterns, further contributing to economic growth.
Additionally, the same budget allocated a 33% increase in capital expenditure, signaling a significant focus on infrastructure development. This emphasis on infrastructure-led growth is not only expected to generate employment opportunities but also instill fresh optimism in the equity markets.
Furthermore, policy reforms in sectors such as real estate, affordable housing, agriculture, and education are propelling India towards a promising era of economic growth and development, often referred to as “Amrit Kaal.”
These factors collectively illustrate India’s resilience and potential for sustained economic growth in the face of global challenges, positioning it as an attractive investment destination.
TechGraph: In a country like India where the stock market can be complex and daunting for newcomers, how does StockGro address the unique educational needs of Indian users?
Ajay Lakhotia: The platform prioritizes hands-on learning by providing virtual cash for risk-free financial experimentation, allowing users to gain real-time experience in trading and investing. It has established partnerships with some of India’s most prestigious educational institutions, integrating financial education seamlessly into academic curricula. This collaboration ensures that students have the opportunity to engage in experiential stock market learning, gaining invaluable insights into market dynamics in real-world scenarios.
Recognizing diverse learning styles and expertise levels, the platform offers tailored modules that can be adapted to individual preferences and needs. It also hosts webinars and workshops conducted by industry experts, deepening understanding through insights from seasoned financial professionals. The platform’s vibrant community fosters networking and knowledge-sharing, encouraging lively discussions and collaborative learning experiences.
With a commitment to accessible financial literacy, the platform aims to make financial education engaging and approachable. It strives to bridge the gap in understanding complex financial concepts by leveraging digital platforms for dynamic and interactive learning experiences. Above all, the platform adopts a practical approach, preparing users to navigate the complexities of finance and investing, equipping them with the practical skills needed for making sound financial decisions in the real world.
TechGraph: What tools or resources does StockGro offer to help users understand the nuances of the Indian stock market, which can be influenced by diverse factors such as regulations, economic conditions, and global trends?
Ajay Lakhotia: StockGro offers a multifaceted learning experience designed to empower users with knowledge about the stock market. It provides a feature called StockGyan, offering flashcards or bite-sized pieces of information, making stock market concepts easily digestible. Users can engage in simulated learning through “Prep zones,” where they can test various techniques using virtual cash in a competitive and incentivized environment, gaining practical insights into trading strategies.
The platform fosters a sense of community through chat groups, serving as discussion forums where users can openly converse about strategies, ideas, investing, and trading frameworks. Additionally, StockGro boasts a team of certified experts known as “StockGro Experts.” These experts share their valuable insights daily, offering users the opportunity to seek assistance and guidance from seasoned professionals who can provide in-depth knowledge and expertise in the world of stock trading and investing.
TechGraph: As the stock market can be highly volatile and unpredictable, how does StockGro create an environment where users can make simulated investment decisions, learn from any missteps, and refine their strategies?
Ajay Lakhotia: StockGro reinforces stock market lessons through a cycle of learning, practicing, discussing, and building a social investment circle. Users first acquire knowledge in snack-table format through “StockGyan” which delivers bite-sized information about the stock market.
Then, users go on to test their strategies with virtual cash in trading competitions known as Prep Zones. Each prep zone allows them to learn from their mistakes and ace the art of building a high-performing portfolio.
They also get to engage in “Chat Groups” with peers & experts who discuss strategies, ideas, and trading concepts. This fosters collaborative learning & helps users tap into a community of experts who help them develop advanced trading & investing skills.
With every step of collective learning, their ability to build better portfolios & earn rewarding returns in real stock market conditions improves. This way, StockGro thrives on enabling users to glean insights from one another’s experiences and stay attuned to market trends.
TechGraph: Technologies like AI and machine learning are rapidly transforming the financial sector, how is StockGro leveraging technology to enhance the learning experience for its users?
Ajay Lakhotia: StockGro will soon use AI and machine learning to create tutorials in multiple languages. Chat helpers will provide answers in users’ languages while recreating significant market events and simplifying news updates.
Detecting anomalies using advanced tools ensures user safety. StockGro aims to merge cutting-edge tech with Indian market insights, promising an exciting future for stock enthusiasts.
TechGraph: StockGro might have a diverse user base with varying levels of financial literacy, how does the platform cater to the needs of both beginners and more advanced users?
Ajay Lakhotia: StockGro has taken a comprehensive approach to meet the diverse needs of its user base by introducing StockGro Plus, designed to cater to users with varying levels of experience and interests. In addition to the free basic plan, StockGro offers three distinct monthly subscription plans: “Advanced,” “Expert,” and “Influencer.”
These subscription plans are tailored to the user’s understanding level and the depth of information they require to level up their stock market skills. Depending on the chosen plan, users gain access to features such as charts, PrepZone portfolios, and expert chat groups.
However, one constant across all plans is a commitment to continuous learning. Users can actively participate in PrepZones, test their trading strategies using virtual cash, expand their knowledge through StockGyan, engage with experts, and refine their ability to select the best-performing stocks in the market. This approach ensures that StockGro provides a dynamic and adaptable learning experience for users at all levels of expertise.
TechGraph: The Indian economy and financial markets are influenced by a range of factors, including political developments and global market trends, how does StockGro help users understand and navigate these complexities?
Ajay Lakhotia: The StockGro app is meticulously designed to simplify the stock market for users of varying experience levels, creating a seamless cycle of learning, practicing, and connecting with experts. A key feature of the app, StockGyan, adopts a card-based teaching format to educate users about the stock market’s response to global events. It breaks down these complex occurrences into easily digestible, bite-sized information within content buckets such as trivia, macro analysis, and “encyclopedia.”
Moreover, the app’s “Social” section thrives as a hub for dynamic discussions where experts derive actionable, real-time insights for users. Additionally, several chat groups dedicated to topics like “Daily News” and “Macro Analysis” facilitate a deeper understanding of the implications of domestic and international market trends
TechGraph: Finally, how does StockGro envision the future of stock market experiential learning in India? Are there any upcoming initiatives or developments that users should look forward to?
Ajay Lakhotia: StockGro aspires to accelerate financial inclusion in India by empowering everyone to invest & trade in stocks. In founder Ajay Lakhotia’s words, “Beginners with limited financial knowledge may opt for high-risk investments and make emotional decisions during market turbulence, leading to potential losses and falling for scams. StockGro’s mission is to bridge the financial literacy gap and empower individuals with knowledge for responsible and successful investing in India,” asserts Lakhotia.
StockGro has many initiatives in the pipeline to achieve this goal. We will be looking to expand our community to go beyond our existing collaborations spanning over 500 educational institutes & 100+ experts. The app is also opening up to new asset classes, to create a wholesome learning experience. Moreover, StockGro is also working to onboard stock brokers and banks to facilitate users’ transition from learning to earning in stocks.
Lastly, the team is constantly on the mission to improve the app’s overall experience by finding the simplest way to show complex financial information through charts, bite-sized content & other innovative methods.