Paytm: proof of the coming-of-age of India's startup ecosystem


Vijay Shekhar Sharma at Paytm is full of optimism about the future of his payments and financial cross-selling platform as it has rolled out its public listing. Its IPO—the biggest in the country so far—after Coal India's issue back in 2010, where the company raised ₹15,200 crore—opened on November 8.

Though the company has made net losses in each quarter since its inception in 2010, the brand has grown and become synonymous with online payments. Its strong branding is probably its main fillip for its initial public offering—where the company is hoping to raise ₹8,300 crore, and has made an offer for sale (OFS) of ₹10,000 crore by existing shareholders.

The company gained its foothold during the demonetisation period in 2016 due to country-wide cash shortages. For many people Paytm was then the most reliable means of cashless payment. The brand has gained a good deal of visibility because of its ubiquitous QR code stickers in high-end shops as well as in roadside kiosks.

They have gained 120 million transacting users and 22 million merchants on their platform at a great cost of acquisition—“we are the largest payment company by user merchant transaction and revenue,” says Sharma.

Furthermore, they have 65 million payments bank accounts, “probably more than the largest private bank in the country.”

Sharma believes his company’s growth is proof that the Indian startup ecosystem has come of age.

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