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Should You Raise Funds Or Bootstrap? Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma Answers

Should You Raise Funds Or Bootstrap? Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma Answers

During Inc42 Facebook Live AMA, Vijay Shekhar Sharma Said Fundraise Depends On Opportunity You Are Addressing

“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” –
Jack Ma

November 8, 2016 — the day that went down in India’s history as Demonetisation Day — was one of the biggest drivers of a digital revolution in India. Among other companies that were thrown into the digital world, Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s Paytm (a subsidiary of Sharma’s One97 Communications) found the right opportunity to rise and shine. And it did.

Paytm today is a decacorn, has multiple ventures and increasingly holistic offerings, and has achieved an annual run rate of 5 Bn transactions and $50 Bn in gross transaction value (GTV).

Achieving all this is no small feat, but Paytm continues to challenge its own milestones to create new ones. What a lot of people probably don’t know is that Vijay Shekhar Sharma bootstrapped One97 Communications for seven years.

A lot has been said and discussed about Sharma, so, when we hosted him on Inc42 Facebook Live AMA, we asked him about One97. Our question was: Should a startup raise money early on or bootstrap for a while and then raise money?

To begin with, Sharma told us that 2001 was when he started One97 Communications and he raised Series A only in 2007, which is “seven years of no money to live through.”

He also explained that recently Paytm subsidiary Paytm Mall, which is still a new kid on the block of unicorns, raised $400 Mn.

Sharma says, “So, from a startup which raised money after seven years to a startup which was born with a silver spoon, I can say it depends on which opportunity you are addressing.”

He believes if your opportunity is here and now, then it is very important for you to raise a huge amount of money sooner for your startup.

“If you are building something that is forward of times, you should be conscious not to take large sums of money which you can’t return with time. Because investors also have exit horizons,” Sharma adds.

Sane advice, this.