TIME Magazine has named Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma in 2017 TIME 100, the publication’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. When a boy from small-town India catapults himself into the league of world titans and becomes the poster boy of resilience, hard work, and dedication then it’s a story worth retelling. Read on to know more about the genesis of the Paytm empire
It all started when Vijay Shekhar Sharma, an exceptionally talented student, stepped into the world of entrepreneurship. He founded his first company XS Communication as a college-based startup and built Content Management Systems which went on to be used by several major publications including The Indian Express. What was remarkable about this endeavour was that Sharma was a self-taught programmer. Thus, began the pursuit of learning and innovation.
In the year 2000, Sharma started One97 Communications with a vision to build a powerful digital business across various sectors. In 2010, the company launched its flagship brand Paytm with the aim of creating an online recharge portal. Paytm is an acronym for Pay Through Mobile. The Paytm Wallet enables users to seamlessly pay utility bills (mobile, electricity, landline, broadband, water), do online recharges (mobile, DTH, metro), and even book movie tickets, flights, train tickets, hotels and so on.
In an interview with The Economic Times, Sharma said “We believe that everything that a consumer can buy using the mobile phone will be an important area for us. Digital goods O2O (offline to online) are great moats in that. We want to be a dominating force in travel, ticketing and deals businesses.”
SoftBank invests $1.4b in Paytm – its biggest bet in India
The Indian government’s move in late 2016 to invalidate old high-value currency notes and the consequent emphasis on digital payments increased the investor interest in Paytm. In May 2017, Japan’s leading Internet and telecom major Softbank invested $1.4 billion in Paytm. It was the largest funding round by a single investor in India, making Paytm the Japanese company’s biggest bet in India’s start-up ecosystem. Previously, Chinese tycoon Jack Ma, the owner of Alibaba Group, bought a $500 million stake in Paytm in the year 2015.
Paytm Payments Bank- The new age banking
Vijay Shekhar Sharma was one of 11 recipients of a payments bank licence from the Reserve Bank of India in August 2015.
Paytm Payments Bank is India’s first bank with zero fees on online transactions, no minimum balance, and free virtual debit card. Initially, the Paytm Payments Bank account will be available by invitation only. However, users can request an invite by logging onto www.paytmpaymentsbank.com or through the Paytm app. Paytm Payments Bank, which now houses the electronic wallet business, plans to roll out several financial services products such as Insurance, Loans, Mutual Funds offered by our partner banks with the seamless Paytm experience.
The paytm dream run during demonetization in India
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation drive on November 8th, 2016 the entire country gasped and went into a tizzy. While users everywhere huddled to salvage the situation, mobile wallet companies such as Paytm, Mobikwik, and FreeCharge witnessed an exponential growth in business.
On the night of November 8th, there was a flurry of activities at the Paytm headquarters. Paytm team was thrilled by the huge business opportunity and spent hours planning and preparing media campaigns to inform fellow Indians about the convenience of using Paytm. In a matter of few days it was obvious that Paytm was the leader in the space and the biggest benefactor. The Paytm USP? Quality work is done with lightning speed. Not only did Paytm quickly scale up its infrastructure to meet the growing demands but also accelerated the release of new features for consumers as well as merchants who wanted to accept Paytm. Their strategy included:
Launching Paytm Nearby feature to help users find all the merchants nearby who accept Paytm. Approximately 5 million transactions were processed per day using this option.
Releasing the Paytm Android app in 10 regional languages- Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya and Punjabi. This was a masterstroke as 80% of Indians prefer Internet-based services in a regional language.
Using a young and dynamic team of about 4000 Paytm agents to swiftly onboard users. Collectively they onboarded over 35 lakh shopkeepers.
Paytm also rolled out com/business, making it easier for merchants to accept Paytm payments. All they required was a mobile number and the Paytm app.
When Paytm Karo became a way of life
As Paytm expanded its reach to millions of Indians, users across the country started posting pictures and videos on social media about their Paytm experience. Even mainstream media started reporting on how customers and merchants were benefitting from the platform. Shopkeepers, vegetable sellers, petrol pumps, autorickshaws, and even tea stalls embraced Paytm during the cash deficit days. No wonder then that the Paytm site traffic increased by 435%, app downloads grew 200%, and there was 250% rise in overall transactions and transaction value post demonetization. Paytm Karo (use paytm) was not just a buzz word anymore, but a way of life.
Features, Benefits, and the Works
If you missed all the frenzy and haven’t tried Paytm yet or haven’t explored the latest options then here’s a quick lowdown that will help you get started:
How to use Paytm
Follow these quick and easy steps to get started:
Go to paytm.com or download the Paytm app (Android/ Apple/ Windows) from the app store.
Create an account by signing up on the website or by registering your mobile number through the app.
Sign into the account.
Go to Paytm Wallet and add money using net banking, debit card, or credit card.
Your Paytm account is set up and you are now ready to start your cashless transactions!
The Myriad of Feature
Here are some of the most used and useful features that you can make use of:
The money in your Paytm Wallet can be used for the various online and offline transactions. You can use your Paytm wallet on other websites as well. The Passbook shows the wallet balance and displays a snapshot of all transactions performed to date. Using the Pay/ Scan option you can transfer money instantly at zero cost to anyone with a smartphone and the Paytm app. All you need to do is scan the recipient’s QR code or enter their mobile number in the Pay option within the app.
Tap the Nearby option to see a list of nearby places that accept Paytm payments.
If you have a Paytm voucher you can redeem it by entering the Promotion Code on the website.
Mobile Recharge and Bill payments:Using Paytm you can seamlessly pay your utility bills (mobile, electricity, landline, broadband, water) and online recharges (mobile, DTH, metro). You can even book movie tickets, flights, train tickets, amusement parks, hotels, events, cars, and bikes! In the case of refunds, money will be credited to your wallet instantly.
Paytm is not just an e-recharge merchant but also a full-fledged e-commerce site which offers a wide variety of products to choose from. Fashion, footwear, personal care, sports and health care products, books and kids section, electronics, home and kitchen appliances are some of the most popular categories. You can even buy and store gold using the Digital Gold option on Paytm.
Paytm’s exclusive deals and offers make it a very attractive shopping hub for online shoppers. Here are some of the recent exclusive Paytm deals:
Check out the latestPaytm Promo Codeson Couponraja to get the best deals.
Paytm offers a unique feature for companies to roll out Tax-free food allowance to employees. Employers can instantly transfer money to food wallets of employees based anywhere in the country without any hassles of procuring, handling and distributing bulky coupons and cards. The Food Wallet balance is displayed in the Passbook.
Sell on Paytm:
You can now join the club of thousands of merchants who sell their products on the largest e-commerce platform. It is quick and easy. All you need to do is sign up and get started on the unified dashboard. You can become a seller in a jiffy!
Paytm is on a mission to drive financial inclusion and to build India’s first $100 billion firm. It’s a company with its heart in the right place and working towards the goal of providing financial services to 100s of millions of unserved and under-served Indians. Vijay Shekhar Sharma has proved to be not just a responsible citizen but also an ace entrepreneur who is leading the company from strength to strength.
Paytm enters LinkedIn’s list of Top 20 Companies to work for
With so much going for it, it is hardly surprising that Paytm features in LinkedIn’s 2017 list of Top Companies to work for. As the company continues to grow in stature it is also expanding its footprint within and outside India. Paytm has launched bill payment service in Canada and has a 55-member team working from the Toronto office. Meanwhile, the company launched its third office in Bangalore and several new regional offices in India with Vishakhapatnam and Kanpur being two of the bigger ones.