Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma wasn’t too off the mark. Earlier this year, in an interview to Fortune India, he had predicted that the unicorn’s losses could decline “by at least 50%” year-on-year. On Friday, One97 Communications Ltd, the parent company of Paytm, said that optimising expenses resulted in a 40% reduction in losses in FY20, as compared to last year. Its revenue for 2019-20 increased to ₹3,629 crore backed by its growth in the financial services business and point of sale (PoS) devices.
The Noida-based digital payments firm said it had ramped up its presence in the financial services space including lending, wealth management, and insurance offerings which led to new revenue streams. The company’s Android-based PoS devices also recorded higher adoption rate among SMEs, and kirana stores, resulting in 200,000 units being sold. Its overall transactions grew by over 50%, and the company claimed that it had registered over 17 million merchant partners on its payment and financial services vertical.
“We are on the path to empowering millions of Indians with digital financial services that would play a key role in building Atmanirbhar Bharat. We are also investing heavily in building digital services for our merchant partners so that they can benefit from technology and financial inclusion. Our efforts have started reflecting in the strong adoption of more profitable services by our consumers and merchants,” said Madhur Deora, president, Paytm, in a release. The Noida-based firm said it is looking to become a profitable venture by 2022.
Set up in 2009 to offer a mobile wallet that consumers could access on their smartphones or the website, Paytm today has an investment and wealth management arm, an e-commerce arm, and a payments bank.
Last year in November Paytm raised its second-biggest funding round of $1 billion from existing investors Japan’s SoftBank Investment Advisers, Ant Financial, and others. Valued at $16 billion (as of April 2020), Paytm is the most funded unicorn in the country.
Over the past few years, the company has been focussing on the tier 2 and tier 3 markets and has launched a slew of products to tap into small businesses and merchants such as the Paytm Business Khata app that allows merchants to maintain a digital ledger of all their transactions, and Paytm Soundbox, a voice-activated point-of-sale machine in multiple languages.
Despite its meteoric rise after demonetisation, Paytm today has bigger competitors across the digital payments ecosystem including UPI, e-commerce, and lending verticals. “Now it is the big game, there is a bigger plan. Earlier it was a startup game, which had the startup plan. It is no longer a one vertical business. It is now an ecosystem war,” Sharma had told Fortune India in April.
The company said its digital financial services such as Paytm Postpaid, Paytm Money, and Paytm Insurance will contribute to its turnover in the coming fiscals. It has recently launched stock trading on its online investment and wealth management platform as well.
Paytm said that it is in the process of hiring over 1000 engineers, data scientists, and financial analysts, among other positions for tech and non-tech roles. In the earlier interview to Fortune India, Sharma had pointed out that the company has reduced its costs “dramatically without reducing the number of people. People costs have actually increased; the other costs have automatically optimised because our revenues have started kicking in. Right now, on a year-on-year basis, our losses will go down by at least 50%,” he had said then.