Vijay Shekhar Sharma: The Journey of India's First FinTech founder


Vijay Shekhar Sharma, born on June 7, 1978, is a prominent Indian technology entrepreneur and a billionaire business magnate. He is best known as the founder, chairman, and managing director of One97 Communications, a company he established in 1997. Under his visionary leadership, One97 Communications gave birth to the consumer brand we now recognize as Paytm, which he launched in 2010.

Sharma's impact on the tech world goes beyond his role at Paytm. In January 2022, he was appointed as the UA Ambassador in India by the ICANN-supported Universal Acceptance Steering Group, reflecting his influence and expertise in the technology landscape.

His journey began in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, where he was born to Sulom Prakash, a schoolteacher, and Asha Sharma, a homemaker. Sharma's early education was in Harduaganj, a small town near Aligarh. He displayed remarkable intellectual prowess, starting college at just 15 and earning his B.Tech degree in engineering from Delhi College of Engineering (now Delhi Technological University) by the age of 19.

Sharma's entrepreneurial spirit surfaced while still in college when he launched the website in 1997. Just two years later, he sold the website for a staggering $1 million. In 2000, he founded One97 Communications, which initially focused on providing mobile content such as news, cricket scores, ringtones, jokes, and exam results.

One97 Communications laid the foundation for Paytm, the digital payments and financial services giant that Sharma introduced in 2010. Under his leadership, Paytm became a household name in India, and in November 2021, it went public with a groundbreaking initial public offering (IPO) that raised $2.5 billion, valuing the company at $19 billion.

Apart from his role at Paytm, Sharma is an angel investor who actively supports various tech startups. His influence extends beyond the corporate world; he joined the board of management at Netaji Subhas University of Technology in Delhi, contributing to the advancement of educational initiatives.

Throughout his career, Sharma has received numerous accolades, including being named the Youngest Indian Billionaire by Forbes and featuring on Time Magazine's list of 100 most influential people. He has won awards such as the Entrepreneur of the Year by AIMA, ET Entrepreneur of the Year, and Businessman of the Year at GQ Men of the Year Awards.

In his personal life, Vijay Shekhar Sharma is married to Mridula Parashar Sharma, and they have a child. He draws inspiration from visionary figures like Jack Ma of Alibaba and Masayoshi Son of Softbank.

Despite his remarkable success, Sharma faced a legal hurdle in February 2022 when he was arrested for a car accident involving a police officer's vehicle. He was subsequently released on bail.

In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Sharma has taken on the role of UN Environment's 'Patron for Clean Air,' advocating for environmental action and awareness through the Breathe Life campaign.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma's journey from a small town in Uttar Pradesh to becoming a tech mogul is a testament to his relentless determination, innovative thinking, and commitment to making a positive impact on India's tech landscape.



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