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The interesting life story of brand PayTM

By Dhrubaa Ghosh,

PayTM is a brand almost all mobile users are familiar with. Here’s more on its journey.

PayTM is one of India’s most popular digital payment systems, and was valued at a staggering $2.7 billion in 2019.

Forbes named Vijay Shekar Sharma the youngest billionaire of India in 2017. At that time, the net worth of his company PayTM was $2.1 billion. In June 2019, the company was valued to be at $2.7 billion. But it has hit the news recently again, as a company whose shareholders have been suffering losses due to a fall in its share price. How did the son of a simple school teacher build this empire?  

What PayTM’s founder like before PayTM?
Vijay was a child prodigy. He finished high school at 15, and came out with a B Tech engineering degree at 19. In 1997, while studying at college, Vijay built the website indiasite.net, made large profits, and sold it for $1 million two years later. In 2001, Vijay took a loan of 8 lakhs to fund his start-up, One97, fated to become the parent company of PayTM. He had to take a loan of 8 lakhs to fund his start-up. To begin with, repaying EMIs were tough, and Vijay took up teaching assignments to manage. But with PayTM, he struck gold. PayTM stands for payment through mobile, and he managed to make PayTM Karo a popular ad slogan throughout the country.  

PayTM made major profits due to demonetization
In November 2016, the Indian government announced the demonetization. Overnight, there was a massive liquid fund crunch in the market. The old notes has been withdrawn, but the new notes were not yet printed, or not printed in adequate measures. So a huge population, to the tune of millions of people, turned towards digital payments at one go. PayTM became a way of life from being just an app. 

Vijay’s wealth continued growing even when PayTM suffered losses
In 2018, Vijay’s net worth rose to $2.6 billion. He was now at the 877th position among a global ranking of 2153 billionaires by Forbes. Meanwhile, PayTM lost by 3393 crores. It is only now that Vijay’s net worth is falling. But given the transient nature of the share market, it's too early to decide on the future of PayTM or its founder.