Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma bets on young wealth to hit profit sooner – Times of India

Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma bets on young wealth to hit profit sooner - Times of India

Paytm Intend to improve your online. Wealth management Hires over 50,000 sales people to get more merchants on their network, with the goal of achieving faster profit than the target.
Billionaire founder CEO Vijay Shekhar SharmaIt is revamping its suite of money management products to better tap the growing wealth among younger consumers, who are hotter than the idea of ​​online investing. More traders in small Indian cities and towns.
The twin moves mark an ambitious attempt to transform Paytm, officially known as One 97 Communications Ltd, once hailed as the new economy symbol of India’s startup scene. The company has fallen nearly 70 percent since its $2.5 billion 2021 IPO as investors worry about continued losses, while rivals such as Walmart Inc. Phone PE And growth is threatened by regulatory restrictions.
Now, Sharma says the push from wealth and merchants, along with cost savings from AI automation, could help Paytm generate operating profit in less than a year. The CEO said it would be faster than previous internal estimates or analysts’ estimates, without elaborating.
“We have learned and we will expand our capacity to serve India, its small traders and businesses,” he told Bloomberg News at his company’s Chrome & Glass headquarters on the outskirts of New Delhi. “We should cross about 50 million merchant base signing up on the Paytm platform in a year,” he said from the offices overlooking a condominium on one side and a large construction site on the other.
The Noida-based company had about 38 million merchants as of September, of which about 10 million were paying for offers like QR codes, sound boxes. or audio payment authentication machines and card machines.
Sharma, 45, the son of a teacher from a small town in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, founded One97 in 2010. The company started by offering services such as recharge for prepaid mobile services, but withdrawal from the federal government in 2016 worth of currency notes boosted its business. It quickly grew into India’s largest payments brand, and counted Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co. and Masayoshi Sun’s SoftBank Group Corporation among its backers.
The company launched its digital wealth management product, Paytm Money, around 2018. Its mutual fund business has done moderately well, but the firm wants to double down on the business, imbuing it with artificial intelligence, as India’s middle class increasingly goes online. Invest in the capital market. Insurance is another fertile field in India, Sharma said. He added that the addressable market for financial services could soon cover 250 million of India’s 1.4 billion people.
“Younger users are moving towards it. So we’re saying, OK, let’s just build our trading platform with investor protection and recommendations, the power of AI and high transaction success rates,” Sharma said. said in an interview on Tuesday.
Sharma is pushing his 10,000-strong technology, product and engineering teams to use Microsoft Corp. and Google AI tools. This has helped Paytm reduce product development from weeks to days. Sharma, like other companies using automation, expects it may need fewer staff.
“We will be able to save a targeted 10% to 15% of what we had planned in employee costs, because AI has actually delivered more than we expected,” he said. “
Paytm said in February that it had achieved an operating profit before factoring in the cost of employee stock ownership plans. It now wants to be in the black on a full operating basis, which Sharma predicts will happen sooner than the company expects.
It has generated free cash for the past two quarters and Sharma expects that to continue. PhonePe and Alphabet Inc. Paytm has narrowed quarterly losses and accelerated lending despite growing competition from GPay.
“This year was the year where we could tell the world that Paytm has a viable business model,” Sharma said. And after this year, we will reach another stage, which is called shareholder return.

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