At 27, Vijay Shekhar Sharma was making Rs. 10,000 a month, a modest wage that didn’t assist his marriage prospects.
On the time, the skilled engineer bought cellular content material by way of a small firm.
“Households of potential brides would by no means name us again after discovering out that I earn round 10,000 rupees a month,” Sharma mentioned. “I had change into an ineligible bachelor for my household.”
Final week, the 43-year-old Sharma led Paytm’s $2.5 billion (roughly Rs. 18,515 crore) preliminary public providing (IPO). The fintech agency has change into the toast of a brand new India, the place the first-generation of the nation’s startups are making stellar inventory market debuts and minting new millionaires.
Born to a college trainer father and a house maker mom in a small metropolis in India’s most populous Uttar Pradesh state, Sharma, who turned India’s youngest billionaire in 2017, nonetheless loves having tea at a roadside cart and infrequently takes brief morning walks to purchase milk and bread.
“For a very long time my dad and mom had no thought what their son was doing,” Sharma mentioned of the time China’s Ant Group first invested in Paytm in 2015. “As soon as my mom examine my web price in a Hindi newspaper and requested me, ‘Vijay do you actually have the type of cash they are saying you’ve?'”
Forbes places Sharma’s web price at $2.4 billion (roughly Rs. 17,775 crore).
“What are my odds?”
Paytm started simply over a decade in the past as a cellular recharge firm and grew shortly after ride-hailing agency Uber listed it as a fast fee choice in India. Its use leapfrogged in 2016 when India’s shock ban on high-value foreign money notes boosted digital funds.
Paytm, which additionally counts SoftBank and Berkshire Hathaway as its backers, has since branched out into providers together with insurance coverage and gold gross sales, film and flight ticketing, and financial institution deposits and remittances.
Whereas Paytm pioneered digital funds in India, the house quickly turned crowded as Google, Amazon, WhatsApp, and Walmart’s PhonePe launched fee providers to seize a slice of a market anticipated to develop to greater than $95.29 trillion (roughly Rs. 70,57,41,560 crore) by the top of March 2025, in accordance with EY.
That push by international giants gave Sharma a uncommon second of doubt, which he raised with SoftBank’s tycoon billionaire founder Masayoshi Son.
“I known as up Masa and mentioned – now everybody’s right here, what do you assume are my odds?”
Son, an early investor in Yahoo! and Alibaba, informed Sharma to “elevate extra money, double down and go all in” and focus all his vitality on constructing funds, in contrast to rivals which had different major companies.
Sharma, who’s married and has a son, mentioned he has by no means appeared backed since.
Whereas some market analysts have considerations over when Paytm will flip worthwhile, Sharma is assured of his firm’s success.
In 2017, Paytm launched a invoice funds app in Canada and a 12 months later entered Japan with a cellular pockets.
“My dream is to take the Paytm flag to San Francisco, New York, London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. And when individuals see it they are saying – you recognize what, that is an Indian firm,” Sharma mentioned.
© Thomson Reuters 2021