Paytm sealed the Warren Buffett deal with 1 meeting, 2 phone calls
Vijay Shekhar Sharma says the deal with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway will put to rest all doubts about Paytm's ability to make money
New Delhi: In the first week of February Paytm’s founder and chief executive officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma met board member Mark Schwartz in Canada. Schwartz, who’s also on the board of SoftBank Group Corp., had a proposal for him. Schwartz wanted to introduce Sharma to the world’s most renowned investor, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Do you have plans to take this business global?
Right now the focus is India, as the India opportunity is huge. If we do great in India, we can be good in other geographies too.
Is Berkshire Hathaway looking at other Indian companies for investments?
Not that I am aware of. Our conversation with Todd has been around Paytm and the Indian payments ecosystem.
Any particular reason why Todd led this deal and not Mr Buffett himself?
We met Todd and did not meet Warren. He could take call. I don’t know of their internal process. Also, Todd has done other payments deals.
We hear this is a small cheque. Will Berkshire pump in more money?
We could not pick all the money that was offered. Berkshire wanted to invest more than what we have accepted. We did not think it was the right time to raise more money and dilute further, as we already have sufficient capital in the bank.
What is Berkshire’s expectation from Paytm?
To build the dominant and biggest financial services company in India.
What does this deal mean for the Indian start-up ecosystem?
It is an acknowledgement of Indian start-up entrepreneurs’ journey and the fact that they are creating something unique. Our industry has finally matured from strategic investors to more serious financial investors. Indian technology companies are finally getting identified. This is a very big endorsement that India has the opportunity to create world-class global companies.
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