If there is one word that describes Paytm boss Vijay Shekhar Sharma, it is “hustler”. A self-taught programmer, a child prodigy who had graduated as an engineer by the time he was 19, an entrepreneur in college, and now the founder of one of India’s most renowned and valuable fintech startup, Vijay has been hustling his way to success through all the thicks and thins of his life.
Back in 1997 when he was still in college, he started the website indiasite.net and sold it two years later for $1 Mn. He started One97 (Paytm’s parent company) with a loan of $12,525 (INR 8 lakhs) and when the repayment became tough, he did not shy away from taking up all sorts of jobs to make ends meet like setting up LAN connections, delivering guest lectures and so on to make ends meet.
From there to reaching 230 Mn customers on Paytm to launching Paytm Payments Bank to making his debut on the Forbes Billionaire list with a net worth of $1.3 Bn as well as on the 6th “Hurun India Rich List 2017” to buying a $12.72 Mn (INR 82 Cr) worth 6,000 ft. residential property in Lutyen’s Delhi, Vijay Shekhar Sharma has come a long way, interestingly all this happened this year and thus, he ended up on Inc42’s Newsmakers of 2017 list too.
So while this year has been the year of fintech for the Indian startup ecosystem. I would say it was the year for Paytm. But more than all these accolades, was the $1.4 Bn funding from SoftBank Group, the Japanese Internet and telecom major, which is a big endorsement for the fintech startup. Paytm is now one of SoftBank’s biggest bets in India (biggest being Flipkart) and has received just the right kind of fuel to fire its course further.
Internally in the team, he is known as the Resident DJ of Paytm. But the world should remember that he was the only Indian besides PM Modi who made it to the TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list in 2017 and was also named as UN Environment Program patron for Clean Air.
In an Inc42 Facebook Live AMA, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, who also happens to be a die-hard fan of Jack Ma and Masayoshi Son (Masa), bares it all and reveals why Sachin Bansal is the reason that this country has this bright vibrant startup ecosystem.