Post demonetization, two words that came to every Indian’s mind while paying for shopping were, “Paytm Karo”. Paytm has transformed the payment methodology in India and it has brought about a paradigm shift in Indian retail industry. Paytm today is one of largest companies in India in terms of market share, capitalization and revenue generated. Most people know about the success that Paytm has achieved in recent times, but there are very few who are aware about the struggles behind the success faced by the Vijay Shekhar Sharma who founded Paytm. The man who now owns a $7 billion company had just started from Rs.10 in his pocket.
Early Days of Vijay Shekhar Sharma and his College Start-up
Vijay Shekhar Sharma was always a brilliant student, he completed his engineering degree from Delhi College of Engineering when he was just 19. So, much was his passion for entrepreneurship, that while most of the students at the college were excited about the opportunity of being placed with a decent salary, he founded his first company, XS Communications at the time. The college-based start-up aimed at creating Content management systems. It was by then, that Vijay had developed the expertise of coding all by himself and he had developed his start-up was utilized by good number of major publications such as The Indian Express.
Formation of One97 and Early Struggles
While striving to set-up and facilitate the operations of One97, Vijay once lend an amount of Rs. 8 lakh which was a huge amount back in those days. As operations at One97 expanded, the need for running more, larger teams and paying for music royalty required more money.
He had taken the loan at an exorbitant interest rate of 24% which landed him into a situation where he was just trapped into a vicious cycle of unpayable debt. This made things pretty challenging and he was forced into taking up petty jobs such as delivering guest lectures at institutes, setting up LAN connections to meet ends.
One fine day, Piyush Aggarwal for whose company Polar Software Vijay was working as a CEO agreed to invest an amount of Rs. 8lakh. In return, Vijay agreed to sell 40% stake of One97 in return of the investment to Piyush, which the latter sold for 87 crore when fortunes of One97 skyrocketed. This was the turning point in the life of Paytm’s founder and since then he has not looked back.
Success and Growth of Paytm
It was just the determination and hard work and prior experiences of Vijay that had made Paytm what it is today. Things eventually became better for One97, which is the parent company of the Paytm. The experiments at One97 were all about commerce, content and advertainment which made Vijay conceptualized the idea of a payment ecosystem in 2010P and Paytm was born.
Initially, he did not get any funding for the idea and he went on to invest $2 million himself to prove to people about his belief and confidence in the idea. Eventually, Paytm started growing by giving value to its customers in the form of 24*7 internet wallet and customer care services. Customers were given resolutions to their complaints in quick time which made the company grow all the more quickly and capture larger market. The Paytm idea required trust to capitalize upon which Vijay finally captured after entering into the market.
How Paytm Plans to Expand in Future
As of February 2018, Paytm’s share in the e-payment companies market stands at 30%. Paytm is now looking forward to exploring new opportunities. By the end of 2020, Paytm plans to make entry into the loan market and disburse loans of small nature to approx 500 million people. Paytm also plans to expand its payments bank network and convert it into physical banking facilities in next few years.
According to sources, the payments bank is also planning to launch a chap app with sophisticated features to give WhatsApp a run for their money. Start-ups such as Shifu and Near.in that were acquired by Paytm will be used to strengthen the offline presence of the company and enhance customer experience.
Awards and Recognitions
Paytm is enjoying unparalleled success, in last couple of years it has bagged quite recognition across the world for its work in empowering people adopting to digital payments. Following is a list of few accolades and awards that Paytm has bagged.