Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has broke out into tears during his address at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) as the company got listed today on both the exchanges.
Paytm IPO, which is India’s biggest ever, has seen a tepid listing, with the shares listing at discount of 9% at ₹1,950 on NSE against its IPO issue price of ₹2,150 per equity share.
The three-day IPO of Paytm’s parent One97 Communications was launched on November 1 that concluded on November 3 with a price band of ₹2,080-2,150 per share.
In a photo that went viral, Sharma was seen wiping tears with a handkerchief as he addressed a gathering in a hall of the BSE.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, an engineering graduate, founded Paytm back in 2010 as a mobile recharge company. It grew quickly after ride-hailing firm Uber listed it as a quick payment option in India.
The government’s demonetisation move has given a massive push to the payments firm as people were just turning to digital payments.
Paytm, which also counts SoftBank and Berkshire Hathaway as its backers, has since branched out into services including insurance and gold sales, movie and flight ticketing, and bank deposits and remittances.
Born to a school teacher father and a home maker mother in a small city in India’s most populous Uttar Pradesh state, Sharma became India’s youngest billionaire in 2017. He still loves having tea at a roadside cart and often takes short morning walks to buy milk and bread.
While Paytm pioneered digital payments in India, the space soon became crowded as Google, Amazon, WhatsApp and Walmart’s PhonePe launched payment services to grab a slice of a market expected to grow to more than $95.29 trillion by the end of March 2025, according to EY.
At 27, Vijay Shekhar Sharma was making 10,000 rupees ($134.30) a month, a modest salary that did not help his marriage prospects.
“In 2004-05, my father asked me to shut my company and take up a job even if it was for 30,000 rupees,” Sharma, who went on to found digital payments firm Paytm in 2010, told Reuters.
At the time, the trained engineer sold mobile content via a small company.
“Families of prospective brides would never call us back after finding out that I earn around 10,000 rupees a month,” Sharma said. “I had become an ineligible bachelor for my family.”
Son, an early investor in Yahoo! and Alibaba, told Sharma to “raise more money, double down and go all in” and focus all his energy on building payments, unlike rivals which had other primary businesses.
Sharma, who is married and has a son, said he has never looked backed since.
While some market analysts have concerns over when Paytm will turn profitable, Sharma is confident of his company’s success.
In 2017, Paytm launched a bill payments app in Canada and a year later entered Japan with a mobile wallet.
“My dream is to take the Paytm flag to San Francisco, New York, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo. And when people see it they say – you know what, that’s an Indian company,” Sharma said.
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