Vijay Shekhar Sharma is a well-known name in the Indian startup ecosystem. He is the founder and CEO of Paytm, India’s largest digital payment and financial services platform. Sharma’s journey from a small town in Uttar Pradesh to building one of India’s most valuable startups is an inspiration for many aspiring entrepreneurs.

Early Life and Education

Vijay Shekhar Sharma was born on July 8, 1978, in a small town called Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh, India. He spent most of his childhood in a modest household, and his parents were school teachers. Sharma developed a keen interest in programming at a young age and started learning computer programming on his own.

After completing his schooling, Sharma pursued a degree in engineering from Delhi College of Engineering. However, he dropped out in his second year to start his entrepreneurial journey.

Entrepreneurial Journey

Sharma started his first venture, Xs! Corp, at the age of 19 in 1997. Xs! Corp was a content management company that provided website development and internet marketing services. However, the venture did not take off, and Sharma had to shut it down.

In 2000, Sharma started his second venture, One97 Communications, with the vision of providing mobile content and services. One97 initially provided ringtone and wallpaper services for mobile phones, which were very popular in India at that time. Sharma’s focus on the mobile-first approach helped One97 become a leading player in the mobile content and services industry.


In 2010, One97 Communications launched Paytm, which was initially a platform for mobile recharges and bill payments. However, Sharma realized the potential of digital payments in India, and Paytm evolved into a digital payments and financial services platform.

Paytm’s growth was phenomenal, and it soon became one of the most valuable startups in India. Paytm’s success was driven by its focus on user experience and its ability to leverage technology to provide innovative solutions to its users.

In 2015, Paytm received a significant boost when Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce giant, invested $500 million in the company. Paytm’s valuation skyrocketed, and it became a unicorn, a startup with a valuation of over $1 billion.

In 2016, the Indian government announced its demonetization drive, which led to a surge in digital payments in India. Paytm was well-positioned to capitalize on this opportunity, and its user base grew exponentially.

Paytm has since diversified into various financial services such as Paytm Payments Bank, Paytm Money, and Paytm Mall. Today, Paytm is India’s largest digital payments and financial services platform, with over 450 million registered users.

Awards and Recognitions

Sharma’s contribution to the Indian startup ecosystem has been widely recognized. He has won several awards, including the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence in 2016.

In 2018, Sharma was featured in TIME magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. He was also awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the Forbes India Leadership Awards in the same year.


Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s entrepreneurial journey is a testament to the fact that with the right vision, determination, and hard work, anyone can achieve success. Sharma’s focus on the mobile-first approach and his ability to anticipate the needs of the Indian market have been the driving forces behind his success.

Today, Paytm is a household name in India, and Sharma is one of the most respected entrepreneurs in the country. His success has inspired many young entrepreneurs to take the plunge and start their own ventures.