India’s One97 Communications is said to have raised $1.4 billion for its Paytm digital wallet startup from Japanese telecom giant SoftBank Group Corp. (TYO: 9984), which will join Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) as a major shareholder and will take a seat on the board of Paytm, One97’s flagship brand and India’s largest digital payments platform.

The deal reportedly brought Paytm’s valuation to about $7 billion. Last year, Paytm raised $60 million from Taiwanese chip maker MediaTek at a $5 billion valuation. Paytm is said to have 220 million wallet users and 5 million merchants of its e-commerce platform.

“This investment by Softbank and support of the incredible entrepreneur Masa Son is a great endorsement of our team’s execution and vision. We believe we have a great opportunity to bring financial inclusion to half a billion Indians,” said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm. “Paytm plans to invest 10,000 crore over the next three to five years towards its commitment to enabling half a billion Indians to join the mainstream economy.”

“In line with the Indian government’s vision to promote digital inclusion, we are committed to transforming the lives of hundreds of millions of Indian consumers and merchants by providing them digital access to a broad array of financial services, including mobile payments,” said Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO, SoftBank Group.

Paytm also said that it has received final regulatory approval for its mobile-first Paytm Payments Bank, which is set to begin operations later this month.

“India has presented us with the world’s largest opportunity in terms of financial services and we are confident its market will grow exponentially over the next decade,” said Eric Jing, CEO of Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial. We are proud to be Paytm’s strategic partner and we will continue to extend our tech know-how to support Paytm’s growth in the country. We welcome SoftBank to a great ride together to provide equal access to financial services in India,

Headquartered in New Delhi, One97 has more than 4,500 employees with regional offices in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata, and a global presence in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. The company’s backers include Alibaba Group, Ant Financial (AliPay), SAIF Partners, Mediatek, Sapphire Venture and Silicon Valley Bank.

SoftBank is a global technology player that aspires to drive the information revolution. The SoftBank Group holding company owns a global portfolio of companies, including advanced telecommunications, internet services, AI, smart robotics, IoT and clean energy technology providers.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm.



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