Exclusive: Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO, Paytm talks about representing India at the TIME 100 Gala

This month has been a very exciting month for Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma. As the only Indian except Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be featured in TIME Magazine’s top 100 most influential people list, it is truly a feat for the Aligarh-born Sharma whose life has been a rollercoaster of a ride.

The list features pioneers, artists, titans, leaders and icons from around the world honoured for "the power of their inventions, the scale of their ambitions, the genius of their solutions to problems that no one before them could solve."

For 43-year-old Sharma, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani wrote that when India's government unexpectedly scrapped 86 per cent of the country's currency notes in November, Sharma "seized the moment" and saw phenomenal growth with Paytm.

The final list of the 100 most influential people is chosen by Time editors.
Mr. Sharma spoke to Business Insider about his experience at the TIME 100 Gala. ”It was a surreal experience where I saw everyone who is in news, who is on my music playlist and who is in the movies,” Sharma said, still excited.


As the only Indian around with PM Modi not attending, he felt honoured,”My biggest takeaway was that the editor of the TIME Magazine speech where he said you have two ways of influencing the world either with a finger or a fist symbolizing that your influence should be powerful and groundbreaking,” says Sharma.

Last year, Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, tennis star Sania Mirza, actress Priyanka Chopra, Google's India-born CEO Sundar Pichai and founders of Indian e-commerce major Flipkart Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal were among Time's 100 most influential people.

Vijay, who attended the event with his wife also said that it was truly humbling to see people recognizing Paytm and also seeing PM Modi’s mural at the event.