Paytm (an acronym for "pay through mobile") is an Indian multinational financial technology company, that specializes in digital payments and financial services, based in Noida, India.[4] Paytm was founded in 2010 by Vijay Shekhar Sharma under One97 Communications. The company offers mobile payment services to consumers and enables merchants to receive payments through QR code payment, Payment Soundbox, Android-based-payment terminal, and online payment gateway.[5] In partnership with financial institutions, Paytm also offers financial services such as microcredit and buy now, pay later to its consumers and merchants.[4]

Paytm
One 97 Communications Paytm Ltd.
Company typePublic
ISININE982J01020
Industry
FoundedAugust 2010; 13 years ago (2010-08) in New Delhi, India
FounderVijay Shekhar Sharma
Headquarters,
India
Areas served
Key people
  • Vijay Shekhar Sharma (CEO)
Products
Services
RevenueIncrease 9,978 crore (US$1.2 billion) (FY24)[2]
Decrease −1,730 crore (US$−210 million) (FY23)[2]
Decrease −1,568 crore (US$−190 million) (FY23)[2]
Owners
Members12.31 lakh
(1.23 million) (FY24)
ParentOne97 Communications
Websitepaytm.com

Apart from bill payments and money transfer, the company also provides ticketing services, retail brokerage products and online games.[6][7][8]

Paytm's parent company One97 Communications was listed on the Indian stock exchanges on 18 November 2021 after an initial public offering, which was the largest in India at the time.[9] For the fiscal year 2022–23, Paytm's gross merchandise value (GMV) was reported to be 13.2 lakh crore (US$160 billion).[10][11][12][13]

History

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Early history; 2010-2019

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Paytm was founded in August 2010 with an initial investment of US$2 million by its founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma in Noida, Delhi NCR. It started off as a prepaid mobile and DTH recharge platform, and later added debit card, postpaid mobile and landline bill payments in 2013.[14]

In October 2011 Sapphire Ventures (fka SAP Ventures) invested $10 million in One97 Communications Ltd.[15] By January 2014, the company had launched the Paytm Wallet, which the Indian Railways and Uber added as a payment option.[16] It launched into e-commerce with online deals and bus ticketing. In 2015, it added education fees, metro recharges, electricity, gas, and water bill payments.[17] Paytm's registered user base grew from 1.18 crore in August 2014 to 10.4 crore in August 2015. Its travel business crossed $500 million in annualised GMV run rate, with 20 lakh tickets booked per month.[18]

In March 2015 Paytm received its huge stake from Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group, after Ant Financial Services Group, an Alibaba Group affiliate, took 40% stock in Paytm as part of a strategic agreement.[19] Soon after, it received backing from Ratan Tata, the MD of Tata Sons.[20] In August 2016, Paytm raised funding from Mountain Capital, one of Taiwan-based MediaTek's investment funds at a valuation of over $5 billion.[21] Also in 2016, it launched movies, events and amusement parks ticketing[22] as well as flight ticket bookings and Paytm QR.[23] Later that year, it launched rail bookings[24] and gift cards. California-based PayPal filed a case against Paytm in the Indian trademark office for using a logo with a similar colour combination to its own on 18 November 2016.[25]

In May 2017 Paytm received its biggest round of stake from a single investor – SoftBank, thus bringing the company's valuation to an estimated $10 billion.[26] In August 2018, Berkshire Hathaway invested $356 million for 3%- 4% stake in Paytm,[27][28] although Berkshire Hathaway confirmed that Warren Buffett was not involved in the transaction.[29]

In 2017 Paytm became India's first payment app to cross over 10 crore app downloads.[30] The same year, it launched Paytm Gold,[31] a product that allowed users to buy as little as 1 of pure gold online. It also launched Paytm Payments Bank[32][33] and ‘Inbox’, a messaging platform with in-chat payments.[34] By 2018, it started allowing merchants to accept Paytm, UPI and card payments directly into their bank accounts at 0% charge.[35][36] It also launched the ‘Paytm for Business’ app (now called Business with Paytm App), allowing merchants to track their payments and day-to-day settlements.[37] Its merchant base to grow to more than 70 lakh by March 2018. It launched two new wealth management products - Paytm Gold Savings Plan and Gold Gifting for long-term savings.[38][39] In January 2018, it entered into a joint venture with Alibaba Group-owned gaming company AGTech Holdings to launch Gamepind, a mobile gaming platform.[40] It was rebranded as Paytm First Games in June 2019.[41] In March 2018, Paytm Money was started with an investment of ₹9 crore[42][43] for investment and wealth management.[44]

In May 2018, the Indian investigative news agency Cobrapost released a video of an undercover reporter meeting with Paytm's vice president, Ajay Shekhar Sharma who is the brother of Vijay Shekhar Sharma.[45][46] During the meeting, he reportedly said the company had provided the Government of India with the personal data of Paytm users in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, violating user's privacy and policies.[47][48] Later, BuzzFeed reported that, Sharma has close ties with India's ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party.[49] Meanwhile, in response, the company tweeted that, it had never shared user's data with third parties, denied the contents in the video, and stated that it had never received requests from law enforcement on Twitter.[50][51] Paytm also stated that any person claiming otherwise "is not aware of the policy and is not authorised to speak on behalf of the company".[52][53]

In March 2019 the firm launched a subscription based loyalty program called Paytm First,[54] and in May 2019, it partnered with Citibank to launch Paytm First credit card[55][56] On 25 November 2019, Paytm raised $1 billion in a funding round led by US asset manager T Rowe Price along with existing investors Ant Financial and SoftBank Vision Fund.[57]

2020-present

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In July 2020, Tata Starbucks partnered with Paytm allowing its customers to order food online during the COVID-19 pandemic.[58]

On 18 September 2020, the firm's official app was briefly unlisted from the Google Play allegedly due to violations of the Play Store's gambling policy.[59][60] The company claimed that Google did not offer any prior warning or give the company an opportunity to explain its views on the contentious 'cashback' offers while claiming that Google's own payments app Google Pay offered similar 'cashback' offers and suffered no repercussions.[61][62]

In July 2021 One97 Communications filed a draft red herring prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Board of India to launch its initial public offering (IPO).[63][64] It launched its IPO in November 2021, raising 18,300 crore (US$2.2 billion) at a valuation of US$20 billion.[65] It was the largest ever IPO in India.[66] The shares began trading on 18 November 2021, opening at 1,950 on the NSE, 9.3% below the upper band of the IPO price range, and closed down more than 27% at 1,560,[67] making it the biggest drop on a listing day in Indian IPO history.[68]

In December 2021 Paytm launched Paytm Wealth Academy.[69] In March 2022, the Reserve Bank of India barred Paytm Payments Bank from signing up new customers after an inspection found that the company was leaking customer data to China-based entities which indirectly owned a stake in Paytm Payments Bank.[70]

On 31 January 2024, Reserve Bank of India, the banking regulator in India, ordered Paytm Payments Bank Ltd to stop the bulk of its activities from 29 February 2024. RBI found that the company did not conduct proper background checks on the source of funds before onboarding clients. This date was further extended to 15 March 2024 as per the updated FAQ.[71] It may lead to 20% work force cut down. [72]

Funding and shareholding

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A Paytm KYC point in Kolkata.

Post-IPO shareholding (as of April 2024):[73][74]

Shareholders Shareholding
Vijay Shekhar Sharma 9.1%
Antfin (Netherlands) Holding B.V 9.88%
Resilient Asset Management B.V 10.28%
Saif lii Mauritius Company Ltd 10.82%

Investments and acquisitions

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In 2013, Paytm acquired Plustxt for under $2 million. Plustxt was started by IT graduates Pratyush Prasanna, Parag Arora, Lokesh Chauhan and Lohit V that allowed fast text messaging in any Indian language.[75]

Paytm invested $5 million in auto-rickshaw aggregator and hyperlocal delivery firm Jugnoo in 2015.[76] It also acquired Delhi-based consumer behaviour prediction platform Shifu[77] and local services startup Near.in.[78] In 2016, it invested in logistics startups LogiNext and XpressBees.[79] Healthcare startup QorQL, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to assist medical care, received investment from Paytm in April 2017[80] In July 2017, it acquired a majority stake in online ticketing and events platform Insider.in,[81] backed by event management company Only Much Louder (OML) and mobile loyalty startup MobiQuest. It also acquired Little and nearbuy.com in 2017.[82] an India-based, hyper-local eCommerce company. In December 2017, nearbuy.com merged with Little App, while raising fresh capital from Paytm.[83] As part of the deal, the competitor companies would merge under the leadership of co-founder and CEO Ankur Warikoo, while Paytm would acquire majority ownership of the merged entity.

The company acquired the startup Cube26 in January 2018 [84] and hotel booking platform NightStay in 2019.[85]

Paytm board has approved a resolution that would allot 47,042 equity shares to 60 employees under its ESOP Scheme 2008 and ESOP Scheme 2019.[86]

In October 2021, Paytm acquired digital lending company CreditMate.[87]

International expansion

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Japan

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Paytm established a joint venture with SoftBank and Yahoo! Japan, called PayPay Corporation, to offer services in the Japanese market. Paytm launched the PayPay app, a QR-based payment settlement service, in Japan on 22 October 2018.[88]

Canada

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Paytm Labs Inc. was established in Toronto, Ontario in 2014 as a research and development division.[89] It recently launched a fraud risk management platform called Pi for fintechs and digital marketplaces where transaction value is high.[90][91][92]

Paytm Insider

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Paytm Insider is a mobile app that helps to book tickets for Cricket matches, live entertainment shows and sports games online.[93][94]

Charity

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During the COVID-19 pandemic in India, Paytm contributed 10 to every single user who pays to the PM CARES Fund via their app; within ten days they had collected 100 crores in their app. Their 1,200 employees contributed 15 days or even a few months of their salaries to the fund.[95]

Through their platform, Paytm made 21,000 oxygen concentrators available for people in need,[96] and donated oxygen plants in 13 worst-hit cities to help hospitals get oxygen.[97]

In August 2022, Paytm Foundation partnered with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to set up the Air Quality Action Forum (AQAF) to curb air pollution in India.[98]

See also

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References

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