5 Things to Know About Nikhil Kamath, India's Youngest Billionaire

By Danica Lo

The 34-year-old Zerodha co-founder is a chess champion who dropped out of school at age 14

Tatler Asia
Nikhil Kamath, co-founder and CIO of Zerodha (photo: Zerodha)
Cover  Nikhil Kamath, co-founder and CIO of Zerodha (photo: Zerodha)

1. Nikhil Kamath is the co-founder and CIO of Zerodha

Kamath co-founded India's largest trading brokerage in 2010 with his brother, Nithin. Over the last year, Zerodha—the name of which is derived from combining two words, zero and rodha (Sanskrit for barriers)—has seen its number of registered users double under the pandemic and reportedly has a daily turnover of $10 billion.

According to his official company bio: "Nikhil is an astute investor with over a decade of experience and an impeccable track record, who specialises in modelling sophisticated long term investment strategies and portfolios. He heads investments and risk management at Zerodha. An avid reader, he always appreciates a good game of chess."

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2. Kamath dropped out of school at age 14

He embarked on a two-year chess career, playing at both a national and international level. "Chess teaches you how to work under a structure in a system, but yet try and be creative within that system," he told CNBC. "Nobody was going to hire me without a college degree, so I had to do something that didn't require one."

3. He's an avid reader

A self-professed bookworm, Kamath owns more than 500 books and estimates he reads one to two books each week. 

4. His interest in trading started in his teens

"I think trading started around the age of 17," he said in a 2017 Zerodha company video. "I had an active interest in stocks, that had been inculcated by my father and brother who were already investing at the time. And once you start making a little bit of money trading, you get more interested, and it has continued ever since."

"The great thing about trading is there is no ceiling," he told Arabian Business late last year. "If you’re a good trader you can buy a larger amount and if you’re continuing to make money you can scale and scale and scale. You’re not limited to many things and I think that was very attractive to me. Also the fact that a job in trading doesn’t require any minimum qualification. Anybody can study the financial markets, you can read up online, you can buy books about different systems and methodologies of trading and investing and become a good trader on your own."

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5. He also founded an asset management company

Kamath is also the co-founder, with his brother, of True Beacon, "an ecosystem of proprietary investment products, portfolio management advisory, capital markets services and tailored programs for strategic investors focused on India’s public and private markets."

See Gen.T honourees in our Finance & Venture Capital category. 

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