With its eye set on an IPO and the listing deadline from SoftBank, Paytm is now looking to bolster its revenue streams, especially from the lending business, which has shown greater potential than UPI or peer-to-peer payments in terms of income.
Paytm’s senior VP Saurabh Sharma said the company is now looking to scale up the lending business, after a successful pilot run, which provided enough data to build out the product.
Paytm had partnered with a non-banking financial company (NBFC) Clix Finance in July 2019 to enable digital loans for both its customers and merchants. At the time of the announcement, the company said in an official statement, “Paytm will avail these loans to Paytm customers and merchants in the mode of deferred payment or postpaid and merchant lines facilities,” the company had said.
Sharma reportedly said the company has tied up with more non-bank lenders to help expand its reach. To further scale the product, Paytm is also exploring the possibility of getting an NBFC license. Since, it is not allowed to lend via Paytm Payments Bank, as per Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines, it is exploring other options. The company is in the process of converting the payments bank to a small finance bank to fix that.
“The challenge today is to become a preferred partner for consumers. All our innovations are centred around this goal,” Sharma was quoted as saying.
In November 2019, Paytm said that it has raised $1 Bn in a financing round led by T Rowe Price. The round also saw participation from existing investors such as Ant Financial and SoftBank Vision Fund, and Discovery Capital. At the time, Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said that Paytm will invest around INR 10,000 Cr ($1.39 Bn) to acquire customers and merchants in smaller towns.
The Paytm chief has earlier said that the company will start preparations for IPO within two years. He said he wants the firm to generate more cash before entering the public market.
At a time when Paytm is facing major competition from PhonePe, Google Pay and others for offline payments and individual transactions, the company’s multiple products could be one way to leverage its deeper presence in the market.
In October 2019, Vikas Garg, deputy CFO, Paytm said that the company has turned profitable at a contribution level amounting to 12% of the revenue. Garg also said that the company has recorded a gross transaction value (GTV) of $100 Bn, up from GTV of over $50 Bn, while clocking 5.5 Bn transactions in FY19.
However, the company filings for FY19 showed a 2% increase in revenues while its expenses jumped by 54% leading to a 2X increase in losses for the year ending March 31, 2019. Paytm’s revenues increased to INR 3050 Cr from INR 2987.41 Cr in FY18. At the same time, the company’s losses went up to INR 3960 Cr in FY19, as against INR 1491.23 Cr in FY18. Further, in terms of expenses, One97 Communications spent INR 7254.8 Cr in FY19, as against INR 4718.5 Cr in FY18.