The Story of Vijay Shekhar Sharma: From Hindi Medium to Building a Silicon Valley!

The Indian startup circuit has witnessed many astounding stories. The growth of many multinational companies has added to its worth and value as an ecosystem where everyone gets an opportunity to shine and rise. With the new era approaching, it is time to have a sneak-peek into one of the most successful entrepreneurs Vijay Shekhar Sharma. Well, if you are residing in India or if you have kept touch with the Indian startup ecosystem, then you might have heard about Paytm. It is one of the first e-wallets and is still considered as the representative of the Indian startup system in the e-wallet circuit. Read this article to know about the story of Vijay Shekhar Sharma.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma is India's second-youngest billionaire with $2.35 billion wealth as per Forbes list of India's 100 Richest People (2020)

Vijay Shekhar Sharma- Quick Facts
Vijay Shekhar Sharma- Initial stage of life
Vijay Shekhar Sharma- Overcoming the tough circumstances
Vijay Shekhar Sharma- Converting the obstacles into opportunities
Vijay Shekhar Sharma- Paytm
Vijay Shekhar Sharma- As an inspiration

Vijay Shekhar Sharma- Quick Facts

Name Vijay Shekhar Sharma
Born 8 July 1978 Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India
Age 42
Citizenship Indian
Education B.Tech from Delhi College of Engineering (now Delhi Technological University)
Title Founder & CEO of Paytm
Net worth US$2.7 billion (July 2019)
Wife Mridula Sharma

Vijay Shekhar Sharma- Initial stage of life

Vijay’s story can be compared with that of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Both of them came from small towns and with sheer determination and passion, chanced the system. In real life, Vijay is self-effacing and has no pretensions and speaks from the heart. His colleagues love him because he is a genuine and heartwarming person. Talking about the Indian startup circuit, everyone loves him because he epitomizes startup resilience.

Whenever Vijay shared his life story, one would get an idea that Vijay truly understands what it takes to succeed in the brittle world of entrepreneurship. He has been on the receiving side of the harsh time when one would have to toil hard with no guarantee of success. However, Vijay has the great ability to make one laugh because he admires his roots and failures.

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The above-mentioned part of him makes him one of the most charming CEO in the country today. However, one must be aware of the fact that his self-effacing humor doesn’t take away Vijay’s staunch belief in inspiring change.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma- Overcoming the tough circumstances

Vijay has seen the tough life of the economically backward section of the country. When he was a 12-year-old kid who used to sport a chappal and visit his school, his batchmates had no money to afford an air of slippers. After witnessing this, he wrote a poem expressing his bewilderment at the inequalities of life.

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Vijay was one of the two people from his village who went on to pursue engineering. Vijay holds an engineering degree from the prestigious Delhi Institute of Technology. As per Vijay, if one used to study in a Hindi-Medium school, he/she had to face many difficulties. A child reading in the 1990s framed Hindi-medium school rarely had any access to books and coaching facilities! Therefore, Vijay had realized that Vijay was all alone on his path to success.

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During his time at DTU, he expressed his life similar to the popular Bollywood movie, Tare Zameen Par! That is, he could see the lips of his teacher moving, but he could not understand a single word! While preparing for the exams, he and his friends would read the answers and not know the questions because the questions were written in English. Hence, Vijay taught himself to read English.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma- Converting the obstacles into opportunities

The turning point in Vijay’s life came when he went to market one Sunday and picked up a Forbes magazine. He came to know about the success stories of mega-brands like Apple, Intel, HP, and how they became one of the biggest names in the startup circuit. Each of the companies had one thing in common: all of them were built from basement garages! Then, Vijay wanted to go to silicon valley. But, due to a lack of money and resources, that was never possible. Therefore, despite giving up, he taught that even though Vijay couldn't visit Silicon Valley, he could create one in India!

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Hence, he started an internet company during his college days in 1997 with his friend Hari. Both of them wanted to develop search engines and they knew that the search engine would become the main attraction given the fact that the internet was taking giant strides in the technology circuit during that time. However, his parent insisted him to join a real job, but, his sheer determination towards developing a new company never allowed him to stay in the traditional job for a long period!

Throughout his life, Vijay wanted to be a bird who has freedom, he never wanted to be a horse who runs the same track over and over again! Hence, to pursue his dream, he left his job at One97 Communications in 2001 and started a company which was based on the same philosophical ideology as that of Yahoo! In his first tenure, he learned that cash flow matters, not the profitability!

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This was because he was the victim of this cash flow problem as his clients would never pay him on time. Hence, to move on he sold 40 percent of the company for Rs 8 lakh to his angel investor at that time. It was high time for Vijay as his sister’s marriage was coming up and he wanted to secure that marriage. There was a big problem for the family as his father, even though being clean on the loan defaulters sheet was not granted a loan of 2 lakhs! Hence, by taking up inspiration, he developed Paytm, the platform which resolved the issues of the poor and economically backward sections of the society. The platform was built for a shopkeeper or an auto-rickshaw driver who is never respected or liked by any financial institution.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma- Paytm

The platform has been synonymous with the rise of e-wallet in the country. The Paytm Payments Bank has become the first platform that offers a zero-balance account facility. This platform also offers UPI payments and shopping facilities too. Paytm as a brand continues to rise in the modern-day era of e-commerce.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma- As an inspiration

Vijay has been the face of the economically backward section of the Indian society. Even though coming from a family that had financial issues, he was able to break the barriers and work for the betterment of society. It is no doubt that Vijay is one of the biggest names in the Indian Startup circuit!

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