Paytm makes its market debut after India’s largest IPO – TechCrunch

Indian fintech giant Paytm, backed by SoftBank and Alibaba, fell more than 20% after debuting on local exchanges on Thursday. The company, which raised $ 2.5 billion in India’s largest IPO, is valued at around $ 14.9 billion, compared to the $ 20 billion target the company was aiming for.

The shares of One97 Communications, Paytm’s holding company, were traded for as low as 1,591 Indian rupees ($ 21.4), down from the offer price of 2150 Indian rupees.

Thursday’s IPO is the latest in a series of entries by Indian startups, as many begin to explore the public markets after years of growth. Indian food delivery startup Zomato, online insurance aggregator Policybazaar and fashion retailer Nykaa have made a fantastic debut in the public market this year.

Compared to its peers, the early hours of trading Paytm stocks have been disappointing so far. However, many industry leaders said the initial stock development is not the best measure to assess the success of Paytm, which offers a range of services, including peer-to-peer payments and a digital bank.

Even when One97 Communications began its journey two decades ago, Paytm was conceived in the last decade.

A decade ago, Vijay Shekhar Sharma flew to Hong Kong to attend an All Things D conference. At the event, he saw Silicon Valley executives Jack Dorsey and Brian Chesky talk about the companies they built. But the conversation that would change the course of his company, One97 Communications, was an interview with Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

“That trip taught me what happened in the mobile payment and trading area of ‚Äč‚ÄčAsia. It was so inspiring to hear Jack Ma speak at the event,”[ads1]; Sharma said in an interview with TechCrunch ahead of the IPO.

For the first 10 years of its existence, One97 Communications offered a range of services, including domain name registration and VAS for telecom companies. The company had raised $ 15 million and was profitable, but Sharma was now convinced that he had to switch to payments, he recalled in the interview.

But it was a tough sale for Sharma, as many of his investors wanted him to continue to focus on existing industries, according to several people familiar with the matter. After some back and forth with investors, and putting some of their shares at stake, Sharma got the green light to continue her ambitious experiment.

That experiment proved to be a success. Paytm depicts the use of mobile payments in India today. “This is not Paytm being listed. This is India’s youth being listed,” Sharma said.

The journey for Paytm even after getting the green light was not easy. Over the years, the startup struggled to raise money and received several buyout offers, including from Freecharge and Snapdeal – which all declined, according to sources familiar with the matter.

“The support I have received from the industry, from users and everyone else has been incredible,” said Sharma.

Paytm currently competes with a number of companies, including Google, PhonePe and Facebook, almost all of which have gained traction in recent years.

At stake is a fast-growing payment market that could be worth $ 1 trillion in a few years, up from around $ 200 billion in 2019, according to Credit Suisse.

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