In our country, there are many areas that are yet to discover the wonders of digitization.And then there are institutions such asstock exchanges, which are over a century old, but were among the first ones to adopt technology. Though stock trading remains a largely unknown territory for many, startup BullionIndia has setup a facility that now allows trading of bullion (gold and silver) online.
It is unlikely that the website will retain the pleasure of physically shopping for metals, but the daily visitor numbers on the site (8,000 users) is surely indicative of people who have loved the idea. BullionIndia is a website that allows retail users to buy and sell gold and silver in smaller denominations, even as low as 0.1 gm. Think e-commerce of gold and silver. The quantity of gold and silver that is purchased through the site is in turn stored in physical form by BullionIndia, and customers have the option of redeeming physical units of the metal whenever they want. On redemption, physical units of gold/silver will be delivered to the doorstep of the customer.
BullionIndia(BI) is a subsidiary of Finkurve Bullion Private Limited (FBPL), and was formed with the objective of promoting spot trading in bullion across India. Ketan Kothari and Sachin Kothari are heading operations at BullionIndia. Ketan has been with RiddhiSiddhi Bullions Ltd – also a promoter of BI – for over a decade and is an expert in the bullions space. Before joining BI, Sachin has worked with a consultancy firm and was advising SMEs on financial and business strategy.
Launched in October 2012, Ketan claims BI has seen phenomenal growth YOY basis and had revenues of over Rs 25 crores last year. BI doesn’t charge the customer any brokerage, but the margins for their service is built into the prices of the metal sold through the site.
BI has more than 80,000 registered users who do deposits, buy and sell, redemptions and accumulation plan registrations on a regular basis. Talking about the regulatory permissions for BI to operate Ketan says, “This is a normal spot sale of gold and silver through the Internet for which we issue sales tax invoices. The ownership of the gold and silver lies with the client and we assure you that we are not violating any regulations whatsoever.” All transactions at BI are monitored and verified by IDBI Trusteeship Services Limited. They coordinate the day-to-day reconciliation, deposit and withdrawal of gold and silver that is physically stored in the IDBI vaults.
Male investors above 30 years of age form a bulk of users on BI, and come mostly from metro cities of Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Delhi, Vishakapatnam etc. The startup has plans to enter other cities and tap other customer profiles, particularly women.
BI relies on online media like social media, email marketing, SEO and SEM for marketing and advertising. Newspapers and TV channels have also extensively covered their innovative model. Plans are also in the pipelineto publicize through offline channels soon.
Sachin says that they are aiming for BI to be available to everyperson in India. “BI strives to become a one stop solution for any investment in bullion. We are also planning to open delivery centers across India which shall create an offline presence for us and also help deliver bullion to our end,” he says. The journey for BI has just started and they are hoping to attract more retail customers into their fold as they move along. As connectivity and Internet continue to pose a challenge for their growth, Ketan says that they are addressing this issue by appointing offline brokers and distributors after a thorough screening process.
“We are not sure whether to refer to BI as a trading platform or an e-commerce platform”, Ketan says. While the nomenclature soundsconfusing, there is no doubt about the uniqueness of the idea and the potential it holds.