SoftBank confirms $1.4bn investment in Indian digital payments brand Paytm

18 May 2017

Indian smartphone users during Holi festival. Image: Seree Tansrisawat/Shutterstock

India has just seen one of the single biggest investments in its technology sector.

SoftBank’s investment spree continues with a big €1.4bn bet on Indian digital payments company One97 Communications, owners of the popular Paytm brand.

The investment will enable Paytm to expand beyond its user base of 220m people and build a larger offering with more services.

‘We believe we have a great opportunity to bring financial inclusion to half a billion Indians’

This injection of funding from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is one of the biggest investments to date in the Indian tech ecosystem. first reported the likelihood of the deal earlier this month.

Paytm, the flagship product of One97 Communications, is India’s largest digital goods and m-commerce platform.

Banking the unbanked and unserved

One97’s Paytm has seen its user base explode since the government of India killed off the country’s highest denominations in physical cash.

Since then, Paytm has launched movie and rail ticket bookings as well as gold trading.

The company’s Payments Bank will be a mobile-first app that aims to reach corners of India that branches and ATMs have yet to penetrate.

“We believe we have a great opportunity to bring financial inclusion to half a billion Indians,” said One97 founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma.

Paytm also a leading payment-solutions provider for merchants through its semi-closed wallet.

One97 has enjoyed many large funding injections, bringing its value to $4.2bn until recently, with the latest investment propelling it towards $7bn.

It is understood that the company will invest about $1.6bn to double its user base and help half a billion Indian citizens access digital payments.

Indian smartphone users during Holi festival. Image: Seree Tansrisawat/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years