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Artificial intelligence is shaping the future of stock trading: Thippesha Dyamappa, CTO, Upstox

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Upstox has witnessed an unprecedented growth in its customer base over the last one year. The company achieved the milestone of 10 lakh customers in June 2020 and it crossed the 10 million customers mark in May 2022. Over 90% of its customers are from Tier II and Tier III cities, and around 70% are first-time investors. Thippesha Dyamappa, CTO, Upstox, shares with Express Computer, how his firm is investing heavily in a modern technology stack and trying to introduce innovative features that offer a hyper-personalised experience

Some edited excerpts from an interview:

What are some of the recent developments at Upstox?
We have announced a slew of industry-first features for our customers in the last one year. Some of the new initiatives include instant withdrawal, integration with WhatsApp for account opening and IPO applications, Good-Till-Triggered (GTT), and Margin Trading Facility (MTF). Recently, to enable smart options trading, Upstox launched ‘Ready-made Options Strategy’ feature which allows traders to choose from pre-curated strategies based on risk, profit probability, and margin required.

As a customer-first brand, we will continue to innovate and invest heavily in the modern technology stack and introduce innovative features that offer a hyper-personalised experience. We want to remain one of the most trusted and reliable financial platforms in India.

What has been the impact of Upstox’s initiatives on different aspects such as customer service, operational efficiency etc.?
Upstox has witnessed an unprecedented growth in its customer base over the last one year. We achieved the milestone of 10 lakh customers in June 2020 and we crossed the 10 million customers mark in May 2022. Over 90% of our customers are from Tier II and Tier III cities, and around 70% are first-time investors. We have been able to reach out to deep India and will continue our efforts towards financial inclusion. Our aim is to empower every Indian and provide access to more investment choices to grow their wealth.

With the adoption of cloud infrastructure, microservices architecture, hiring of top talent, and our rigorous focus on engineering and operational excellence, we scaled our systems to meet our 10x customer growth and at the same time became the most stable, trusted and reliable platform. We were able to achieve all of this at the same time by reducing our infrastructure cost by 50%.

In addition to obtaining industry leading uptime, we have deployed robust systems to reduce latency.
Protecting and securing our customer and transactional data is paramount to us. We continue to invest in cutting-edge technology to ensure that all our data is secured, backed up and stored safely. Upstox will continue to strive to be the most trusted, stable, reliable, fast and secure platform of customer choice.

How do you see the relevance of AI in your sector? Can you give us some examples of use cases of AI in your organisation?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is shaping the future of stock trading, and financial institutions are among the first to adopt this new technology. AI can be used in many areas of finance, including investment trading, as it processes millions of data points in real-time and gathers information that is not captured by current statistical models.

At Upstox, we have already begun applying AI to deliver the right content to our customers and to answer their questions when they reach out to our customer service team. We recently launched personalised experiences for investors, and are experimenting in this space. The use of large-scale predictive analytics and trading powered by AI is also assisting customers in making investment decisions. Such customization was unthinkable in the past.

As we move to a new hybrid world, what kind of changes do you expect in your processes?
The opening up of the economy after the pandemic has introduced us to a hybrid-work model. Keeping in mind our employees’ safety and our organisational goals, we have transitioned to hybrid working. This brings with it benefits of choice and flexibility. Companies can now coordinate, manage, and oversee flex workspaces and manage projects remotely.

While this involves extensive structural and security improvements, we make sure to prioritise controls and monitoring required for cybersecurity in light of the distributed workforce. We continue to fine-tune processes for effective collaboration and communication, and stay ahead with proactive and reactive mechanisms for emerging cybersecurity threats.

What are some of the IT or digital initiatives that your firm is going to take in the next six months to one year?

As a business, it has always been our endeavour to deliver a superior customer experience and delight the customer at every touchpoint. Looking ahead, our aim is to continue to provide our customers with a seamless, simple, fast and intuitive investing and trading journey. We are working towards creating products and services for our varied sets of audiences. For new investors, we offer simple investing options, and for our seasoned F&O customers, we are building advanced tools and strategies. Additionally, we are looking at customised options for our users, to provide them with just the kind of information they need, the services they use and the personalisation they require.

We seek continuous feedback from our customers, look at their preferences and improve our digital journey to deliver the best-in-class services. In other words, at the core of our customer centricity strategy moving forward will be a strong technology and product led innovations and hyper-personalization.

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