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Nikhil Vora harvests 75-fold gain from Paytm stake sale

16 May, 2017
Nikhil Vora, Founder & CEO, Sixth Sense Ventures

Nikhil Vora, an early investor in One97 Communications Ltd, has sold his stake in the parent of digital wallet firm Paytm to Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told VCCircle.

Vora, the founder of Sixth Sense Ventures, a consumer sector-centric venture firm, offloaded his 0.35% stake in One97 at a valuation of about $7 billion, the person said, asking not to be named.

According to VCCircle estimates, Vora, who had backed the company in his individual capacity, is likely to have pocketed over Rs 128 crore through this transaction.

“This is by far the largest individual exit in India. Vora must have reaped almost 75-fold gains,” the person said.

When contacted, Vora confirmed the development. However, he didn’t wish to comment on the deal details. Email queries to Paytm and Alibaba didn’t elicit any immediate response.

The development comes at a time when Japanese media and Internet conglomerate SoftBank Group is looking to invest $1.9 billion (Rs 12,000 crore) into One97 at a valuation of as much as $9 billion.

Vora was earlier in discussions to sell his stake to Hero Corporate Services chairman Sunil Munjal and Adventz Group chairman Saroj Poddar, according to recent media reports.

Vora’s previous bets
Vora recently exited his investment in Kangaroo Kids Education Ltd when the pre-school and K-12 chain of schools was acquired by EuroKids International Pvt. Ltd.

Vora is independently also a private investor in several firms including Vini Cosmetics, a consumer goods company which raised funding from Sequoia Capital; Noida-based Soothe Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, the firm behind Paree brand of sanitary napkins; sports-focused digital display solutions firm Technology Frontiers, backed by Avigo Capital; and aircraft maintenance and repair company AirWorks, backed by private equity firms New Enterprise Associates and GTI Capital.

Noida-based One97 has, in recent years, ventured beyond its traditional wallet offering into the payments banking and e-commerce sectors, creating two separate entities for these businesses. In December 2016, it said it would merge its wallet business with its payments bank.

Paytm Payments Bank has received approval from the Reserve Bank of India to launch operations, but it is yet to do so.

In March this year, Paytm E-commerce Pvt. Ltd raised $200 million (Rs 1,334 crore) from Alibaba and existing investor SAIF Partners. The investment increased the stake of Alibaba and its affiliate Ant Financial (the parent company of Alipay) in Paytm E-Commerce from 40% to 62%.

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Nikhil Vora harvests 75-fold gain from Paytm stake sale

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