Vijay Shekhar Sharma is much closer to a super app than Mukesh Ambani or Mark Zuckerberg

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder, PaytmBCCL
  • While the talks of a super app have resurfaced with Facebook’s investment in Reliance Jio, a few argue that Vijay Shekhar Sharma has already built Paytm as a super app.
  • Paytm which started off as a digital wallet has today evolved into a financial services company.
  • But VSS has yet another super app up his sleeve– PayPay in Japan.
In February 2020, Vijay Shekhar Sharma spoke about Paytm’s presence across sectors. “I’m on my 50th vertical,” he declared with a laugh. And all this as a part of one app.

But on a serious note, Sharma said that he wants to give customers a ‘complete experience’. “Customers on our app should complete as much as their day’s tasks,” he told Business Insider.

While the talks of a super app have resurfaced with Facebook’s investment in Reliance Jio, a few could argue that Sharma had built Paytm as a super app.

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The All-in-One app

Paytm which started off as a digital wallet has today evolved into a financial services enabler. Paytm offers payments, utility payments, ticketing, entertainment, commerce all in one app. “We are already delving in content and that should be up in a year,” he had said.

Recently, Paytm also announced that it was entering the restaurant business with a contactless dining option for the post-covid world. Users can scan the menu through the app, place orders and pay the bill through the app and maintain social distancing.

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Paytm’s parent company One97 communications has an e-commerce vertical Paytm Mall; gaming through Paytm First Games; mutual funds through Paytm Money; entertainment through Paytm Insider; insurance operations via Paytm Insurance Broking, and a bank through Paytm Payments Bank.

“One97 communications as a whole registers 700-800 million transactions,” a source told Business Insider.

In 2019, Paytm’s former Senior VP Deepak Abbot had said in an interview, “We have created Paytm as a super app that encompasses all their daily payment needs instantly.”

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While it may be said that super apps don’t work in India, Paytm has been evolving into one, by expanding its variety of offerings.

Currently, Paytm is India’s most valued startup at $16 billion. Post-demonetization, Paytm saw a big boost not just in its transactions but also in valuation.



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VSS has two superapps in his pocket

And, it’s not just Paytm in India. In Japan too, Sharma built a digital payments company PayPay in association with SoftBank and Yahoo in 2018 Through this collaboration, Yahoo Japan suspended its own wallet giving PayPay direct access to all its Yahoo wallet consumers.

Within 10 months of its operations, PayPay netted 10 million subscribers and currently has over 24 million. According to SoftBank, PayPay processes over 100 million transactions in a month.

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In its quarterly earnings presentation ending in December 2019 SoftBank said that PayPay is evolving into a super app. It said that the app was evolving from being a payment tool to a marketing app and that through the app one can even book taxis now.

“Completed service link with DiDi taxi. Plan to collaborate with other taxi companies,” said the SoftBank presentation.

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