Paytm is on every investors' watchlist ever since it went public. Touted the biggest in India's corporate history, Paytm's Rs 18,300-crore IPO's subscription stood at 48 percent in just two days, receiving bids for 2.34 crore equity shares against offer size of 4.83 crore shares. Of all the rags to riches stories we've heard over the years that inspired millions of entrepreneurs, the story of Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of Paytm, is one that's worth recalling on this historic moment.
Taking note of the milestone achieved by Sharma against all odds, the chairman of RPG Group Harsh Goenka voiced his praise for the Paytm CEO. Goenka was all-praise for Paytm CEO while sharing an interesting tidbit, reminiscing Vijay's humble beginnings.
"To prosper in the new India, you don't need family background, knowledge of great English or money - you need to dream, persevere and work hard," Goenka wrote on Twitter. "A teacher's son, from a small city, from a Hindi medium school is doing the biggest IPO in our history," he added.
Along with the tweet, Goenka shared a throwback photo of the founder and chief executive of digital payments app Paytm. Taking a walk down the memory lane, Goenka also highlighted how a teacher's son from a small city who studied in a Hindi medium school is doing the biggest IPO in India's corporate history.
Responding to Goenka's praise, the humble Vijay Sharma replied: "Sir you are kind with praises."
Vijay Sharma's journey to this day
Vijay Sharma was born in a middle-class family in Aligarh. He completed his schooling at a young age of 14. Having studied in a Hindi medium school, the first challenge he faced early in life was learning English to get into a good college. He took the challenge and left no stone unturned in achieving it. Sharma learned English by reading old magazines and borrowing books from his friends. He even taught himself to code, then used his talent to build his own content management system (CMS), which was used by major news publications in India.
Sharma had a fair share of obstacles, but nothing got in the way of his determination to go big. He was conned off by his partners with whom he started his business. He went bankrupt, and it was during this phase he stayed in a hostel, skipped meals and even walked long distances when the need arose.
But when he started One97, the parent company of Paytm, things started to shine. Sharma had the idea of foraying into the payment space in 2011, but the board wasn't convinced. He was persistent and put down his 1 percent of his equity, which was around $2 million in 2011, on the table to turn that hesitancy around and he did it. Paytm, short for Pay Through Mobile, took off and there was no looking back. After demonetisation in 2016, Paytm's user base shot through the roof and became a household name in the digital payment space.
Recalling the time when demonetisation was announced, Goenka, who was dining with Sharma at the time, said that Vijay "nearly danced with joy." Mr Goenka was responding to a post from actor Rajev Paul, who noted that Paytm -- the "company that benefitted most" from demonetisation -- opened its IPO on the fifth anniversary of the move.
Vijay Sharma's net worth is $2.35 billion as per Forbes list of India's 100 Richest People 2020.