Home Blogs Meet a smallcaser: Shyam Agarwal
Inside smallcase

Meet a smallcaser: Shyam Agarwal

Meet a smallcaser: Shyam Agarwal
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Born and brought up in Calcutta, financial markets piqued Shyam’s curiosity since his high school days. He was part of various simulation events in both school and college and started investing his family’s money into the equity markets during the pandemic. And he realized that he wants to manage money for people for the rest of his life. He’s a workaholic, but when not working, you’ll find him playing tennis, basketball or another sport. Picking up the guitar and strumming few songs is also something that fancies his interest. He maintains a stash, not of snacks, but that of newspapers, revisiting 2-month old Op-eds. He doesn’t party on a Sunday because it’s Formula 1 time! 

Let’s hear from Shyam about his journey and why he loves smallcase!

How did you come to work in your field? 

If I have to define the way my career started in one word, that would be – serendipitous. 

In Feb ‘21, bored with the status quo of online college life (thanks to COVID), I decided to take a trip to Bangalore for a week. Little did I know, my life was going to change forever. I had no agenda in Bangalore, except for a change of environment. A couple of days into the trip, one of my friends told me it would be cool if I were working in a hedge fund. And I took that seriously. 

You might say – ‘Come on, a third year commerce undergraduate student working in a hedge fund? Seems far fetched.’ Perhaps it was, no doubt it was! But I took a shot. I looked up hedge funds in Bangalore and stumbled upon True Beacon, run by the Kamath brothers. 

The very next day, I sent out a cold email to Nithin Kamath, with a 7-point pitch as to why he should hire me at True Beacon. The odds of Nithin noticing my email was similar to knowing the exact time when I had to go short on Adani stock! Anyhow, I reckon the subject line helped.

You guessed it. Yes, he read my email, forwarded it to the True Beacon team and in the next 2 weeks, I started working there. I owe Nithin big time for what he did for me and I’ll forever be grateful to him. That one email changed my life!   

How did smallcase happen?

Another great story!

In April ‘21, one of my friends forced me to go on a trek with him near Bangalore. For some reason, I was apprehensive and turned him down. The next thing I knew, he had already booked tickets and I had to reluctantly tag along. While we were on the way to the destination along with the whole trek group, I heard someone talk about markets and mutual funds at the back of the bus. It immediately caught my attention and later I discovered that he was from smallcase!

Yeah, smallcase folks talk about markets, even while they are on holiday.

We started chatting and exchanged numbers. 

After almost 6 months, I called him up to see if he could connect me with someone from Windmill Capital for an opening, and he did. The interesting part doesn’t end here. After an initial discussion and an assignment, I had my first round of interview. 

Quick side note on Windmill Capital. WCPL is a sister concern and wholly-owned subsidiary of smallcase. WCPL is a research analyst and smallcase manager creating and managing smallcases. We offer 50+ smallcases across strategies like value and growth, themes like Electric Mobility and Brand Value. If you are here reading this, you probably know one of the most popular smallcases – All Weather Investing, another WCPL product.

Back to the interview. I was driving back home from True Beacon’s office for the interview, when Bangalore traffic caught me off guard. The journey of 15 minutes took me 90 and my interview was about to start, while I was still some time away from home. I pulled over midway, opened my laptop and joined the meeting, right on time. The first question was about why I am taking the interview from a car! But you gotta do what you gotta do.

Why do you love smallcase? 

Because I feel like I belong here. Not to mention – culture, people, and opportunities!

The ease with which you can walk up to someone and talk about anything under the sun is precious. My manager, Abhishek has had a huge role to play as far as shaping up my journey in the company so far, is concerned. He has trusted me with important tasks and responsibilities and has never said no when I’ve raised my hand for a given opportunity. Quite similar is the case with founders and members from other teams, who are extremely approachable and talk to you with such candor. 

Besides these internal factors, what drives me about smallcase is our mission. Having been exposed to the financial markets side of things, from childhood, I have witnessed the problems people face with money management for a cocktail of factors – lack of knowledge, time, inaccessibility, inefficient fee structure, and the list goes on. Democratizing investing in a populous country like India is no walk in the park. It takes courage, execution, and most importantly persistence. This is a service to society and I’m fairly certain that we’re going to continue to make leaps and bounds of progress in the years to come and change how India invests.

Favorite project so far at smallcase?

My favorite project is something that happens every quarter -rebalancing. This task reminds me of why I do what I do. The grueling long sessions discussing each and every company in detail is exhilarating to me. During the 15 days of rebalancing, the team goes through north of 500 company reports and tons of financial data to analyze them. The company understanding one can build from here is unparalleled.

What makes your team interesting?

Firstly, the unique skill set each one of us brings to the table and secondly, the opportunity to create value and impact due to the lean structure. I have always believed that working in a small and lean team is one of the best advantages one could have in his/her career. The reason behind this is you get that extra lever to make an impact and drive projects single-handedly.  

Another crucial aspect for someone who’s starting their career, is the amount of learning you can get on a daily basis. Huge shoutout to Naveen, with whom I have worked on projects from day 1. I can’t thank him enough for his patience with me and infinite things he has taught me since I started working here. More than anything else, he’s always been respectful with me.

Anything else you want to share?

Just as a note to anyone who’s aspiring to join smallcase, one thing you can be rest assured is of an exponential growth trajectory, provided you resonate with what the company is striving to achieve. Another thing is you’re going to make friends for a lifetime and that’s always heartening. I have friends at work, with whom I don’t even work on a regular basis. But whenever we get together, there’s nothing but a whole lot of laughter, fun, and intellectual conversations.

You see, it’s very simple – If you don’t bet, you can’t win. And if you lose it all, you can’t bet!

Write to us at people@smallcase.com to explore opportunities, tell us why you love our product or any feedback to help us do better!

You may want to read

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Meet a smallcaser: Shyam Agarwal
Share via Whatsapp