Vijay Sharma, Paytm

Vijay Sharma, Paytm

Indian digital wallet and payments app Paytm will remain private at least for the next two to three years, founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma told Bloomberg in an interview. The company is not likely to come up with its initial public offering until it builds on its business and takes it to the next level, he said.

Paytm started as a provider of a variety of digital services before moving into payments in 2014. It is now backed by Alibaba’s Jack Ma, SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son, and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett.

It currently has 13 million merchants on its platform and aims to reach 25 million by March 2020. “Shopkeepers need a lot of hand-holding for digital payments, cloud services, and everything else. They are underserved by tech companies. It’s all about how many cities, how many shops, how many markets give consumers the chance to use digital payments. We are very visible in India’s main cities. We are now headed to Tier 3 and Tier 4 markets,” Sharma said.

“We are offering software where they can create their own store and start selling online. They can build their business’s credit score and access our instant business loans. We have leapfrogged from being a payment company to a complete ecosystem for small and medium enterprises for their software and financial-services needs. Our “Business With Paytm” app is in 10 languages. In this era of zero-margin digital payments, as mandated by the government, we have to make money on additional services such as financial services and cloud services,” Sharma added.

He further said that “there is a huge amount of incoming investor interest. People with large-dollar checks are knocking at our doors. Once we figure out the business requirement and get the necessary board OK, we will raise money. We are very well-capitalized for our business model.”

Recently, the digital payments leader Paytm entered into a corporate partnership with health insurance player Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd., to provide health insurance offerings to Paytm customers across the country.

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by Krishna V Kurup
Senior Market Analyst at IBS Intelligence
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