The owner of a billion-dollar firm, Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s success story is very fascinating. The boy from Aligarh, a small town in Uttar Pradesh made headlines by making around 3 million dollars in the market in the year 2016 from merely 10 rupees. Vijay is the founder of the most trusted brand, Paytm which has changed the perspective of digital payments in India.
Early Life :
The millionaire was born in Aligarh on 8th of July, 1973, a small town in Uttar Pradesh. He was the third child where his mother was a housewife and father were a professional teacher. He had two sisters who were elder than him and a brother who was younger, summed up his middle-class family.
Shekhar was very good at studies from starting. Because of this, the school gave him a double promotion and he completed his 12th, at a very young age, 14. For further studies, he moved to Delhi.
The Hurdle :
In school, Vijay was a topper, but in the transition from school to college, Delhi College of Engineering, he got lost! As Vijay had completed his schooling through a Hindi medium school, he was very poor at English. He could not read and write in English.
Once in the class, he could not understand the question asked by his teacher as it was in English, which made him feel a lot of embarrassment and his classmates also mocked him for that. But the boy sooner realised it that to become a graduate, he must cross this barrier of the English language. So, he started learning in his own unique way by taking help from his friends, books, magazines (second hand) and he got an upper hand over the English language.
He used to read the Hindi version of a book with its English one, that is reading two books at the same time! This was very tough for him as in the process he became the last bencher who used to be the first bencher in school. He got disheartened by his poor grades just because of the English language hurdle. These things made him not to attend college and he stopped completely.
The Hustler :
The struggle with the English language with to survive the rigours of typical engineering and the effects of bad Delhi would have made many to quit but Vijay was probably not in those many. He worked hard on his weaknesses and become an Entrepreneur from a student who stopped attending college. With his inspirations Yahoo and Sabeer Bhatia, he started to play with the internet. He had a dream of going to Stanford as Yahoo was developed there, but knowing his weakness with the English language and financial issues, he tried to emulate his favourites from the Stanford. He started to learn to code just by himself.
The Ups and Downs :
The struggle was more real when he transformed himself into an entrepreneur. First of all, he along with his friends of college made a management (content) system.This content system got successful as biggest and popular news publications used this content system for their benefits. During this period, an MNC hired him where he worked for around 6 months and then he left it. After that, he qualified his college examinations and along with that cooperating with his buddies, he started to make his own company.
As said, there is an atmosphere of silence before a heavy storm, exactly happened. Everything was going peacefully in the right direction for Vijay, but dark clouds came over his dreams. One of the darkest phases in the life of Vijay was this. His dreams to reach Silicon Valley got shattered. He was left as an insolvent by the business partners. With them, he had brought the fund’s first round. In 2015, Rupees 8 lakhs, a heavy amount was raised by Vijay with the help of his venture for which he got 40 % conned. He got shattered and devasted.
But, the man with the ability to read two books at a time never gave! As he was living around Kashmiri Gate in a hostel in Delhi, he travelled long routes for meetings or work and skipped meals in the State’s southern part. It was quite tough for Vijay at that time. But he kept doing his work irrespective of all odds.
Now the time came, the sun rose! When Vijay started One97, Paytm’s parent company. They started to build the system in a small room which was not in good condition in South Delhi. They made an investment of Rupees 5 lakh each for this project. The aim of the project was to give mobile users to send content from the mobile like jokes, ringtones, news, and SMS.
In the starting stage, the company focussed on the basics, precisely three basics starting from advertising, then to internet-content and then to commerce. But Vijay was not satisfied here, he wanted to bring something revolutionary. So, in 2011, he brought the eureka moment by bringing the idea of moving into the ecosystem of payments in front of the board of the company. But as Vijay was trying to invest the company’s money into a market which was nowhere, it does not exist.
That time he quoted, “Some other entrepreneur would have sold the equity and started their own company. But I aspire to build a 100-year-old company. I think that men and boys are different because the boys flip and sell. Men run and build legacies”.
And with that, he put $2 million, his equity’s 1% in 2011 on the desk and told them that this money would be theirs if he wasted the amount which would be put in the project. Like always, he travelled the less traversed path.
PAYTM, the first version of his belief came into existence. This Pay Through Mobile Paytm emerged as one of the next big feats in the ecosystem of start-ups. After that, the belief got stronger and Paytm along with Vijay never turned back.
The story :
The continuous trust with the made with the customers was the primary reason for the steep arch. This customer-company relationship was avoided by other companies, but Vijay took it as a primary objective. Before rolling out his internet services for wallet, he created a strong base of customer care which worked 24 X 7. It addressed the issues of customers so that a trust is made between them and they could put their amount into the pockets of strangers. Vijay said,” 30% of the company’s campaign budget is invested in building trust with the customer. For us, it was the single most important factor”.
Even after getting success, Paytm maintained its position in the market as well in the eyes of customers. Vijay gave credit for this to his team. Also, he has contributed his equity’s 4% to his team, whose present value is around $120 million.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma became the youngest billionaire in India as per the reports of Forbes in 2017.
Investments, Sponsors and Success :
According to Vijay Shekhar Sharm, around 78 million of orders are placed at Paytm. The report by him highlights the 35 million regular users every month and 10 million subscribers.
For his venture, Paytm, he got investments from Jack Ma, the owner of Alibaba Group and Ratan Tata, the chairman of TATA.
For a period of five years, the Paytm sponsored the cricket matches in India and this is one of the biggest achievements of Paytm as well as Vijay Shekhar Sharma. There are other projects on which Paytm is working continuously for future endeavours.
Personal Life :
Vijay Shekhar Sharma got his beloved in 2005. He married to Mridula in 2005 through arrange marriage. His family consists of three members, him, his wife and their 3-year-old son, Vivan. Inspite of his heavy work, he tries to spend quality time with his family.
The Inspiration :
Vijay went for work without taking meals, not for one day, but for days. He survived by having biscuits and tea. He showed the world how everything can be achieved. All you have to do is to show your determination and passion. With hard work, things are achieved.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, having so many ups and downs in his life says, “It still seems so surreal.”