Buoyed by the rapid adoption of Paytm post demonetization, founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma recently said that the company is on its way to complete two billion transactions this year.
The company, which has about 165 million users, also said that it aspires to enter the US market in the long run as it sees an opportunity there.
“Today Paytm is on the way to complete 2 billion transactions this year. I personally did not expect 2016 to end on such number. Our numbers are at 2 billion transactions this year, which in turn will enable us to become really the transaction layer on top of every bank account,” Sharma was quoted as saying by PTI.
“With connectivity with the UPI (Unified Payment Interface)we will become the payment app for every bank account. With UPI support Paytm is staking to become the payment layer on top of bank account out there,” he added.
Paytm, which has become the preferred payment mode for merchants, consumers alike also said that it wants become the universal payments app.
“We wants to actually become the universal payments app across every bank account that exists there with partnership UPI. Yes, we (Paytm) will one day go to the US and I say this very clearly we will do. We will hit them in their own market. That is what the aspiration is,” he said, in an event held in Bengaluru recently.
Demonetization: A huge Push
The company has received a huge legup since demonetisation. It has experienced a phenomenal growth post demonetisation and touched a record five million transactions per day, claiming that it is on the way to process over Rs 24,000 crore worth of transactions, an amount larger than any other payment platform in India.
Pointing out that what Paytm has done in India, no company has done in the US, Sharma said, “We started by online payment, and by doing something which traditionally every technology company in the payments industry has done, but in the short time we moved it to the offline world with POS solution and QR code POS solution which is pervasive today, which is nowhere in the world.”
Now, to further take its services to every nook and cranny of the country, the compay is also looking to increase i’s employees base. According to a report, the company has given approval for hiring 20,000 sales people to reach consumers in more than 650 districts.
Our hiring is limited only by the capacity of our human resources bandwidth to hire people. We are looking at a 10member sales team for each district. We are also working with Niti Aayog to increase awareness ,“ Sharma said.
It currently has 11,000 employees now, of which 1,500 were added in just the past one month, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the withdrawal of `500 and ` 1,000 notes.
Also, to empower millions of non-smartphone users to go cashless even without a smartphone, the company announced a toll-free number earlier this week. The number aims to enable consumers and merchants without an internet connection to pay and receive money instantly and also recharge their mobile phones.
Payments Bank to be Launched Before March 2017
Paytm, which received in principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India to start the payments bank, is currently awaiting a final approval from RBI. The company, which has missed earlier deadlines of going live with payments banks, says they will have to go live before March 2017 as it’s licence obligates it to do so.
“We missed earlier deadlines due to multiple factors such as taking a step towards full blown CPS (Core Banking Software) instead of a small one, and also because the funding took time. Nonetheless, we are working at it and we will have to do it before March 2017 as our licence obligates us to launch by then,” said Sharma.
To ensure the best possible experience for its customers and merchants, Paytm has recently annoaunced that it would have a deep integration with India Stack to leverage the platform’s (Payments bank) open-stack technology. The company has implemented India Stack components like eSign and eKYC to ensure great scalability for its mobile payments and commerce solutions.
According to a news report, Sharma has recently sold 1 per cent of his holding in One97 Communications – the company that runs Paytm- to raise about Rs 325 crore. This money, as per the report, will be pumped into the payments bank.
Sharma had a 21.33 per cennt stake in One97 Communications as of March 2016. The latest transaction reduces that stake to 20.33 per cent, said the report. The transaction values One97 Communications at about $4.7 billion.
The Noida-based company is also in middle of a fresh fund raise. Of the targetted $250-300 million, $60 million has already come from Taiwan’s Mediatek.