The Conversation - VIJAY SHEKHAR SHARMA
Fortune India|April 2020
It wouldn’t be wrong to call Sharma a bit of a chameleon. From selling ringtones in the early 2000s to running what can be called an Internet conglomerate, he has not just stayed relevant but is also creating an ecosystem. Now, he wants to take Paytm to the developed world.
ARNIKA THAKUR AND SOURAV MAJUMDAR

RUNNING AN EVOLVING BUSINESS

Paytm is today valued at $16 billion and is the most funded unicorn in the country. Now the ecosystem has changed, there is UPI, e-commerce, lending verticals, you have bigger competitors. What do you see as the growth drivers?

SHARMA: 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. Just like in the U.S. and China markets, where ecosystems fight, it is all about the ecosystem [in India also]; it is not about payments anymore. I believe that with payments/financial services as a moat you are very well positioned, in fact in a dominating position, and we believe that while we have the largest number of users, the largest number of transactions, and those KPIs [key performance indicators], we will also be the largest revenue and profit generator, which is where the ecosystem today is going towards.

There is still a question mark on profits; you have attracted a huge amount of funding 3 but profits are still a concern.

We are a 20-year-old company now. We, as a company, have always gone through the cycle of investment, generating cash, free cash, investment, generating cash, free cash. Right now, it is not about losses which are very high. We have reduced our 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%.

Has the wallet taken a back seat because of the other businesses coming in?

Paytm is a payment instrument or a payment app. Paytm is a payment app where you have a sigma, meaning choice of wallet, bank account, cards, EMI, and so on. So, Paytm consumers do not have the choice only of a wallet. We are as much a part of UPI as anybody else; actually in merchant payments we are the most dominant UPI player. When it comes to online, we dominate 70%- 80% of the market share.

The wallet has its own loyal consumer acceptance and UPI has its own loyal consumer acceptance and both will inevitably coexist.

TAKING THE LONG - TERM VIEW

What is the future of Paytm Mall?

Paytm Mall today spends about $1 million and does on an annual basis, $3.1 billion GMV [gross merchandise value]. The problem is that you have a choice to benchmark it against very clearly retail proxy business models. Ours is a clean marketplace, has a lot more legs than any other marketplace and with a lot more capital in the bank and a lot more resources committed, than anybody else in the business. Everybody else, either they will struggle for the money, or they will struggle for compliance. We have money and we are 100% compliant. For us, Paytm Mall is a journey which is not in a mature stage any which way; it is in its early days.

Some of your competitors in the wallet business are now owned by big companies. What is the future of this business?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM FORTUNE INDIAView All

The Conversation ALBERT BOURLA

As the pandemic took hold last spring, scientists at Pfizer set out to, in the words of CEO Albert Bourla, “make the impossible possible”. Now, on the heels of achieving just that—developing the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine with breakneck speed—the leader of the 172-year-old drugmaker talks about the clash of science and politics, drug prices, and his next impossible task.

10 mins read
Fortune India
March 2021

MEDHAJ GROUP: GLOBAL IN VISION, LOCAL IN ACTION

The revolutionary transformation brought about in the power sector and the society of India’s most populated state, Uttar Pradesh, by flagship venturesMedhaj Techno Concept Private Limited, Medhaj News Private Limited and MedhajlTes Solutions Private Limited, owes its incredible success to the diligence of their visionary Founder & Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Dr. Samir Tripathi. He is committed to serve the needs of every client while aiming to make a mark as a leading global consultancy firm.

5 mins read
Fortune India
March 2021

POWERED BY TEXT

Route Mobile, a cloud communications platform for enterprises, has had a dream run on the bourses since its listing last year. At the core of this success is the humble text message.

8 mins read
Fortune India
March 2021

Transforming People, Process and Technology… a long-term marathon, not a sprint!

Surena Gupta spoke to Bill Gates and Rakesh Rathi on their vision for the Next Wave of Innovation under Fortune India Exchange.

9 mins read
Fortune India
March 2021

On a Premium High

A regular listee on the Fortune India Next 500 since 2015, Radico Khaitan’s double-digit growth, backed by premium product offerings, has propelled the liquor manufacturer into the big league of the Fortune India 500 companies.

5 mins read
Fortune India
March 2021

A Passage to India

The visit of U.K. trade secretary Elizabeth Truss to India paves the way for an eventual Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.

2 mins read
Fortune India
March 2021

Godrej's Hot Bet on Cold Storage

The Covid-19 pandemic has amplified the importance of cold-chain infrastructure, and Godrej Appliances’ medical refrigeration business is making the most of the opportunity.

6 mins read
Fortune India
March 2021

BUILDING HER BRAND WITH LUXURY AND SPIRITUAL CHARM

In a conversation with Fortune India Exchange, Philanthropist and rising entrepreneur ZARINE MANCHANDA shares her remarkable life story and unique branding concept in her quest to help India’s poorest as the Mother of Millions

4 mins read
Fortune India
March 2021

A FULLY BAKED IDEA

How did a Ludhiana-based company go from being an experimental home kitchen to the bourses? The success story of Mrs. Bectors Food is rooted in its visionary leader Rajni Bector and her genetically-blessed taste buds.

8 mins read
Fortune India
March 2021

Burger King's Big Bite

India has a taste for burgers, and Burger King is getting ready to deliver what the customers want with a menu tailored for local taste buds and an efficiency-led expansion plan.

8 mins read
Fortune India
March 2021
RELATED STORIES

Paytm's Sharma Is Ready To Take On The World

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, 41, founded closely held One97 Communications and its brand Paytm (rhymes with ATM) almost two decades ago.

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Markets
October - November 2019

2021: Cloud Trends for the BFSI Sector

Cloud is going to be a crucial factor in BFSI operations of the future:

3 mins read
Banking Frontiers
February 2021

डिजिटल भुगतान में पेटीएम अव्वल

पेटीएम पेमेंटस बैंक का आंकड़ा • एनईएफटी जमानिकासी लेनदेन की संख्या (जनवरी, 2021) : 55.34 लाख • पीओएस ऑनलाइन लेनदेन की संख्या (दिसंबर, 2020) : 2.14 लाख • बैंक के जरिये यूपीआई से लेनदेन की संख्या (जनवरी, 2021) : 36.89 करोड़ • ऐप के जरिये यूपीआई लेनदेन की संख्या (जनवरी, 2021) : 33.26 करोड़ नोट : आरबीआई, एनपीसीआई के सार्वजनिक आंकड़ों के अनुसार

1 min read
Business Standard - Hindi
March 01, 2021

Mobile Banking An Anti Virus To Fight Against Corona Virus

Banking today is standing at the juncture of both economic threats and uncertainties due to advent of COVID pandemic. Corona a synonym of death has made the whole world come to standstill. While the former is based upon the hope of economic revival, latter is more evident from the on-going crisis and related setbacks.

10+ mins read
BANKING FINANCE
February 2021

Where the dunes roar… or whisper

When you arrive at Wits and Nature Reserve, you’re met with an unusual sight: white sand dunes next to the characteristic red dunes of the Kalahari. Gemsbok and springbok graze in the veld, knowing that there are no big predators to worry about. But then a roar echoes through the landscape…

10+ mins read
go! - South Africa
February/March 2021

VOCAL FOR LOCAL

The ‘Make in India’ campaign which was launched under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan program has been receiving a lot of positive reviews because of the support it gives to

6 mins read
Apparel
January 2021

API is the fulcrum of partnership strategy

Ashutosh Singh, Interim CEO & Chief Business Officer at NSDL Payments Bank, discusses the bank’s strategy to carve a business niche and differentiate its services:

9 mins read
Banking Frontiers
December 2020

Paytm partnered with Suryoday Small Finance Bank to empower MSMEs with instant digital loans

India’s home-grown digital financial services platform Paytm recently announced its partnership with Suryoday Small Finance Bank to empower MSMEs with instant digital loans that are otherwise unable to access financial services from traditional banking players.

1 min read
Apps Unveiled
November 2020

Building a better, secure payments future

Mobile, cashless payments and e-commerce market competencies are the decisive factors driving the move toward a cashless society model

3 mins read
Voice and Data
December 2020

Cyber Security, Its Importance In Banking And Precautions

Cyber Security has become a major requirement forall the individuals and organisations that are doing any of the activity related to IT (information technology), as there is a major threat from various sources involved in cyber crime.

10+ mins read
BANKING FINANCE
November 2020