Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma has made it to the list of ‘the 100 most influential people in the world’ of 2017, released by the Time magazine on Thursday.
The 43-year-old chief executive of the Indian mobile payments and commerce firm is the only other Indian, apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to feature in the coveted list.
The Time magazine’s annual listing features pioneers, artists, titans, leaders and icons from around the world. Sharma was listed under the Titan category, joining Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The list had earlier featured Marc Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Tim Cook, among others.
Sharma’s profile, written by Infosys founder Nandan Nilekani, says: “In November, when the Indian government unexpectedly scrapped 86% of the country’s currency notes, Vijay Shekhar Sharma seized the moment. As Indians scrambled to exchange the banned notes for new currency, Paytm, Sharma’s digital payments startup, went on a promotional spree. With a flurry of ads, Sharma invited Indians to start using Paytm’s digital wallet to pay for everyday goods and services.”
Nilekani went on to add that the initiative worked and by the end of 2016, Paytm had 177 million users, compared with 122 million at the beginning of the year. “Vijay had catapulted himself into a nation’s consciousness. It was a masterstroke by a small-town boy who studied in a Hindi medium school before conquering the country’s Anglophone startup world.”
Last month, Sharma was ranked India’s youngest billionaire by the Forbes magazine. His net worth is $1.3 billion
Paytm’s post-money valuation stood at $4.8 billion when it had last raised money in 2016, according to VCCircle estimates.
Earlier this week, The Economic Times had reported that, Japanese Internet conglomerate and investor SoftBank Group Corp was in talks to invest $1.2-1.5 billion in Paytm.