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“Most of the marketplaces in this country have a dormant merchant base” – Vijay Shekhar Sharma

Mobile payments and commerce company Paytm* announced that it had sold 25% stake to a subsidiary of Alibaba, China's e-commerce behemoth last month. Paytm and Alibaba are similar in the sense that Paytm has a consumer markertplace business as well as a payments business (via the Paytm Wallet). Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma (VSS) has also applied for a Payments Banks license. A couple of weeks ago, MediaNama spoke at length with VSS about the fund raising, plans for business, differentiation, and how Paytm's operating environment is different from what Alibaba faced. Part one of our discussion with VSS: MediaNama: What are you going to use the money raised for? VSS: This country has half a billion Indians, no bank, no financial institution with their current cost structure. These people have Rs 2,000-5,000 to spend on utilities (need) and another Rs 2,000-5,000 on their desires. We want to bring them into the mainstream economy, and first thing, we want to sort out their payments, so that is why we take care of their utilities and other payments. Over and above that, once we have a credit and transaction history for them, which is the fundamental need for any large financial institution, we will be able to offer other financial services in partnerships with large banks. A part of the money that we raised will be spent on getting these people in the mainstream economy. We are aiming at 100 million by next year (2016). Over and above that, once we…

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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