The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Vijay Shekhar Sharma, One97
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, co-founder and CEO of One97 and its Paytm online payment platform, cites Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma and Masayoshi Son of SoftBank as his inspirations, according to a profile in the Financial Times.
Perhaps luckily for him, therefore, he has an opportunity to thank them for their inspiration, as both are shareholders.
Founded in 2000, One97 oversees a range of online services as well as corporate venturing unit One97 Mobility Fund, but is best known for Paytm, the online payment platform it incubated and launched in 2010.
Alibaba and its financial services affiliate Ant Financial invested $680m in One97 in September 2015, after acquiring a 25% stake earlier in the year as part of a strategic partnership.
One97 had raised about $20m in initial funding from SoftBank’s SAIF Partners before securing an undisclosed amount of series B capital from SAIF, Silicon Valley Bank and chip manufacturer Intel’s corporate venturing unit Intel Capital in 2009. Alibaba, along with its financial services affiliate Ant Financial, reportedly owned about 46% of One97 as of March this year when it invested $250m at a reported $5.9bn valuation.
Last month, SoftBank was in talks to invest between $1.2bn and $1.5bn at a valuation of $7bn to $9bn, according to Livemint, though ET reports that One97 was seeking between $1.4bn and $1.9bn at an $8bn valuation.
SoftBank intends to acquire a 20% stake in One97 by buying shares in One97 from SAIF Partners and Sharma, as well as investing directly in the company, a source told Livemint. Regardless of the outcome of any SoftBank talks, One97 and Paytm has been a success, especially when the government demonetised to remove cash from the economy.
Sharma had already learned that corporate venturing can bring success. When nominating his colleague, Kiran Vasireddy, as a GCV Rising Star, Sharma said: “Kiran has been a true rock star in all the deals we have done. His negotiations skills are especially great. We, being a corporate investor, need rights beyond the capitalisation table spreadsheet. We need to build synergy with our core business.
“We were able to get better value in competing deals and could create tremendous shareholder value too.”
Nearly two decades after his early software developments for RiverRun, Intersolutions and India Today, Sharma is in many ways the successful face of entrepreneurial India in the way Ma and Son have so often been seen in China and Japan respectively.
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