Benjamin Franklin famously said: “If you would be wealthy, think of saving as well as getting.”
But how often does the ordinary employee have the time to draw up saving and investment plans that enable him or her to retire wealthy? Enter Bengaluru-based Wealthy, your personal wealth manager that offers tech-driven, tailor-made financial solutions.
The fintech startup aims to ensure wealth creation is “easy and transparent”, by making quality financial advice accessible to everyone. Founded by IITians Prashant Gupta and Aditya Agarwal in 2015, the startup claims to be “built on top of nine time-tested wealth creation and management strategies”.
The ML-powered app allows you to, with just a few swipes, save, invest in debt or equity instruments, and find tax-saving plans. It claims to be safe, secure, paperless, flexible, and offers the option of withdrawing your funds at any time.
In the beginning
Prashant and Aditya met during their IIT days in Mumbai and graduated in 2005. Both had successful corporate careers before they decided to join hands for their own venture in 2015. The idea came to them after a few friends and relatives complained about savings never being enough to meet their financial commitments.
The founders had one aim: to build a fintech company that allowed ordinary individuals access to wealth managers and enabled them to create wealth. Their initial investment into the startup was around Rs 50 lakh.
"Most people end up with investments that barely beat inflation or meet their life goals," says Prashant Gupta, Co-founder of Wealthy. He adds that our financial system serves neither the consumer nor the so-called relationship/wealth managers.
This problem is what Wealthy wants to solve.
How it works
The fintech platform enables professionals, small business owners, and other such individuals to become financial advisors, and provides them with products, support, and training needed to succeed as entrepreneurs.
Consumer fintech now has many platforms that serve English-speaking and do-it-yourself millennials. These include Policybazaar for insurance, Zerodha for stockbroking, and Paytm Money for mutual funds. These companies, which have built brand equity and trust over time, offer ease-of-use and are focussed on creating a large user base of transacting users for themselves. In B2B, Turtlemint has emerged as a leading player that focusses on existing insurance agents and digitises them.
Wealthy, on the other hand, aims to create a new breed of advisors that combine the benefits of a digital platform and human empathy to provide quality financial advice across a range of needs. Their target customers are people who are not financially savvy and unsure of where to invest their money.
“We offer data-driven and curated products across all financial needs, such as investments, insurance, and financing. Wealthy’s partners, on their part, ensure personalised services by catering to clients’ three key needs: growing, protecting, and creating wealth,” says Aditya, Co-founder of Wealthy.
The marketplace lets individuals choose their wealth managers.
The company is now on-boarding professionals and other individuals across India to help them build their own business using the platform.
The founders and their strategy
Prashant, who looks after the advisory algorithm, product curation and business tie-ups, completed his BTech from IIT-Madras (2005) and MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad. Prior to starting his entrepreneurial journey, he was the Vice President, Equity Derivatives Structuring at Morgan Stanley, London.
Aditya looks after consumer experience, platform development, and business strategy. He graduated in chemical engineering from IIT-Bombay in 2005. He has a strong entrepreneurial background and was earlier involved in his family’s marble and granite business. Aditya is also an angel investor in companies like Housing.com, Online Tyari, Chaayos, and Globevestor.
Wealthy started in 2015 to offer online-only financial advisory services with an easy-to-use transaction platform. The platform acquired the first few customers through word-of-mouth. However, the founders’ focus shifted from scaling transactions to scaling trust after a chance encounter with their company’s relationship manager from HDFC.
The banker, who was handling their company’s corporate account, revealed his monthly business numbers, which showed that his performance as an individual was better than a team of six people trying to sell online.
“We then shifted our focus from transactions to trust. This was guided by the fact that people take into account the advice of other people, be it their friends, relatives, or their banker, for major financial decisions,” Prashant says.
Most wealth managers end up pushing their products, depending on branch goals, revenue targets, or incentive structures.
“It is a classic case of when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” Aditya says.
They built trust by changing the narrative from selling a wealth product to creating content that guided individuals to choose products based on earnings and financial goals.
At Wealthy, wealth managers are trained to understand what a client really needs, and then find a product that works for them. The compensation structure and business model allow them this freedom, and they focus on the outcome the clients want.
Wealthy’s suite of financial products, cutting-edge advisory software and a cloud-based operation enables these professionals to build the career they want and increase their income by 5x.
The startup is trying to break the inefficient and bloated financial ecosystem that short-changes both, the consumer and the service provider.
“Our business model connects these two groups, scales trust (not just transactions), and ensures quality,” Prashant says.
Every time a wealth manager makes a sale of any product on the platform, Wealthy earns a fee from the product creator– this is shared equally with the manager.
The backend has been built on Python and the mobile apps on React Native. The web apps, client-side as well as advisor tools, are built on React JS.
The way ahead
As many as 30,000 users use the Wealthy app as of now; together, they have consolidated over Rs 800 crore in savings on the platform.
Wealthy has raised $1.3 million in a seed round led by Good Capital in 2019. EMVC, a fintech-focussed fund, and Tracxn Labs also participated in the round. Aditya, the company’s Co-founder, bought some shares in his personal capacity in this round.
This fundraise was to scale up its partner base and continue building the platform to offer more products and services to partners and clients.
Previous investors in the company include Venture Highway, V1 Capital, Globevestor, and other individuals.
“We have started on-boarding advisors who, in the first phase, will help users rebalance existing portfolios and also serve any other financial needs that they might have,” the founders say.
In the next 18 months, the startup aims to scale its partner base, build software tools for them to advise clients, and add more financial products and services to the Wealthy platform.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)