One97 Communications is the parent entity of India’s leading mobile payments and financial services company, Paytm. One97 delivers mobile content and commerce services to millions of mobile consumers, starting as a mobile value-added services (VAS) company. Paytm was launched in 2009 as a digital payment platform to facilitate cashless payments. Through its network of subsidiaries and businesses, the company offers a range of digital payment and financial services to consumers and merchants in India and mobile advertising, marketing, and payments for merchants.
We invested primarily out of immense conviction in Vijay Shekhar Sharma, one of the most mercurial founders we had encountered, in whom we clearly saw the vision to build something significant, something game-changing. Vijay understood the three pillars of finance, mobile, and technology. His journey of pivoting and evolving Paytm from a mobile recharge voucher business into the flagbearer of India’s Fintech revolution is truly remarkable, with Paytm filing its IPO in 2021, then the largest IPO in India’s history.
Today, Paytm is one of India’s most symbolic brands and has been a true socioeconomic equalizer, enabling and empowering all strata of society. We co-led the company’s first institutional round and were privileged to have a front-row seat to one of the most remarkable startup stories of all time, watching the twists and turns of the consumer internet business, the post-demonetization boom of the cashless economy, and the unmistakable phrase in the minds of every Indian shopping online – “Paytm Karo.” After a successful early exit to Alibaba, Saama’s founder Ash Lilani was later invited to join the Board of Directors as an Independent Director prior to the company’s IPO.