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How Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma Went From Making Rs. 10,000 a Month to Turning into a Billionaire

At 27, Vijay Shekhar Sharma was making Rs. 10,000 a month, a modest wage that didn’t assist his marriage prospects.

“In 2004-05, my father requested me to close my firm and take up a job even when it was for 30,000 rupees,” Sharma, who went on to discovered digital funds agency Paytm in 2010, informed Reuters.

On the time, the educated engineer bought cellular content material through 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 develop 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 develop 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 sometimes takes quick morning walks to purchase milk and bread.

“For a very long time my mother and father had no concept 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 value in a Hindi newspaper and requested me, ‘Vijay do you actually have the form of cash they are saying you might have?'”

Forbes places Sharma’s web value at $2.four 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 cost choice in India. Its use leapfrogged in 2016 when India’s shock ban on high-value forex notes boosted digital funds.

Paytm, which additionally counts SoftBank and Berkshire Hathaway as its backers, has since branched out into companies 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 cost companies 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 tip of March 2025, in keeping with EY.

That push by world giants gave Sharma a uncommon second of doubt, which he raised with SoftBank’s tycoon billionaire founder Masayoshi Son.

“I referred to as up Masa and mentioned – now everybody’s right here, what do you suppose 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 main 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 yr 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 – what, that is an Indian firm,” Sharma mentioned.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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