“He was from a small town; he didn’t know English; he didn’t know anything about business management or any coding language, and he became the Founder of one of the most revolutionary market in E-commerce history.”
Vijay Shekhar Sharma is one of the few people who know the fruits of struggle and solely dedicate their success to “not giving up”. He believes that struggles and hard times can bring out the best in you and you get to know who you really are and what you can do.
Born in a small town outside Aligarh, Vijay completed his higher secondary at just 14 years of age. His father was an honest school teacher with high principles, who refused to give tuitions for extra bucks as he believed it the right thing to do. Vijay’s medium of education was Hindi till the higher secondary and had no or little knowledge about English. His tough times started when he left his cozy small town to pursue graduation in Delhi College of Engineering where he came to know the value of English. One can imagine the struggle one has to go through in a college like DCE and a city like Delhi without any hands on English. He struggled, got low grades in every exam, went hopelessly, but never gave up. He learned and mastered the language in ways only few can, through friends, second-hand magazines, and books. There were times in between the struggles with English, rigors of the engineering college and the city’s big bad cloak when he thought to quit. But his willpower kept him to going.
He rarely went to college and dedicated that time to building something new. He was inspired by yahoo and made the internet as his playground. He learned to code by himself and started building his own content management system with the help of his college mates. Later he joined an MNC and worked there for six months before quitting to start his own company with friends. His nightmares didn’t end here. He was conned by his own friends and was left bankrupt and devastated both mentally and financially. Vijay didn’t give up this time either. He skipped meals and went miles on foot to attend work and meetings. Things took a good turn in 2005 when he started One97 (the parent company of Paytm) and the team of one97 started working in the field of content, advertising, and e-commerce. Though the big moment awaited till 2011 when Vijay did something remarkable; putting the idea of Paytm on the table in front of the board of directors of One97. At first, the board wasn’t convinced as they were about to enter a non-existent market, but Vijay had full faith in the idea and it’s potential.
“This is for all of you if I waste the money that we put on the site.” He adds, “There is no fun in doing what others ask you to do, the real fun is in doing what people say you can’t do.” These were the words of Vijay when he laid down his 1% of equity (which was worth $2 million in 2011) as a security for the investment that would be made in Paytm. And now we know that at the age of 37, Vijay owns a multi-billion dollar company- growing no stop till date.
He is modest, friendly and always supportive to his customers. He spends 30% of the Paytm business profit in customer support. His success was a result of his non-stop hard work, genius intellect and an action-oriented mindset that only a few people possess.