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Startups

Indian startups chase surge in retail investors

Pandemic-fueled stock rally brings business to online brokerages, advisers

 The number of individual demat accounts rose to 77.2 million in November 2021, compared to just 4.5 million new accounts created for the whole of 2019.   © Reuters

TOKYO/BENGALURU -- Sonam Srivastava used to create trading algorithms for high-frequency securities traders. But when the U.S. advisory she worked for scrapped plans to launch in India, she decided to start her own advisory business in Mumbai. In 2019, she began offering stock portfolio recommendations on a site called Smallcase, which executes trades on investors' behalf.

Srivastava's recommendations became popular among retail investors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting with a "multifactor" strategy based on quantitative research, she has added new themes such as "momentum," which aims to take advantage of a bull market, and another focused on small-cap stocks.

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