Living The Billion Dollar Dream

Sriya Kundu

 ‘Paytm Karo’ is no longer just an advertising tagline for the Indian multinational company, but has become a financial reality of our country, especially since the pandemic last year. 

Be it a tea-stall at the corner of the road or a large-scale business, Paytm has become an indispensable solution for all kinds of transactions, both at the individual as well as the B2B level.

India has become a hub of entrepreneurs setting up multinational start-ups. Though each of these start-ups is driven by unique ideas, we only hear of a select few becoming a success in quite a short span of time. Paytm was one such venture – one of India’s first e-wallets.

So who was behind the success of this digital payment method in a country where transactions were heavily cash-based?

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, was the founder of One97 Communications, the parent company of Paytm. The 43-year old man had been recognized and acknowledged as one of the leading entrepreneurs of the country in the year 2017. He was ranked as the only one under 40 to make it to the Forbes list of billionaires in India. Thus he was India’s youngest billionaire then.

With a current net worth of 2.35 billion dollars, he continues being one of the youngest entrepreneurs on the Forbes list of India’s 100 Richest People (2020).

Hailing from quite a humble background, based in Aligarh, being the third among the four children to a school teacher and a homemaker, he was considered an ineligible bachelor in his town.

He had started his career right after completing his Engineering course at Delhi College of Engineering. At the age of 27, he was earning a mere amount of 10,000 rupees.

Vijay’s turning point started with reading a Forbes magazine. That’s when he got introduced to the world of start-ups and the wonders that had been created within its realms. He started his journey developing a website named indiasite.net which he sold within 2 years at a whopping 1 million dollars.

It was August 2010, when Vijay founded Paytm with an initial investment of 2 million dollars. In the consecutive years, further investments were made into the parent company, One97 Communications by Sapphire Ventures and the Alibaba Group. Paytm officially become one of India’s first e-wallet services. The Indian railways and Uber were among the first to collaborate with it for expanding their payment options.

Today the company’s net worth is 16 billion dollars. Moreover, he finally launched the IPO of One97 Communications in the markets, raising 2.4 billion USD at a valuation of 20 billion USD.

Paytm has been growing over the years, a process that got hastened due to the likes of demonetization and the pandemic. It is one of the only e-wallet services that allows a zero-balance account, thus supporting businesses and merchants at all levels.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma has indeed been an inspirational figure, especially in the start-circuit of the country, and continues to be so as he plans to take both himself and his venture to newer heights of success.