Paytm eyes education sector to hit high revenue

About 25,000 campuses would be cashless, with fees, dues and canteen payments made through the mobile wallet.

With its eyes on a revenue target of $2 billion (about Rs 13,400 crore) by the end of the next financial year (2016-17), One97 Communications, which owns online payments company Paytm, is planning to enter the education sector.

The education sector in India is worth about $100 billion (about Rs 6.7 lakh crore). The mobile wallet is planning to provide a cashless alternative to payments of all kinds across schools, colleges, universities as well as premier institutions such as Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management.

The company claims by the end of this year, 25,000 educational institutions, both government and private, would have cashless campuses, where all payments – fees, dues, canteen facilities, tuck shop products – could be made through Paytm. One could buy books, stationery or uniforms using the mobile wallet.

Paytm also has tie-ups with coaching centres for MBA aspirants.

Early adoption of its digital wallet by students, the company claims, would help it create prospective clients for its digital system.

“Around 40 per cent of India’s internet users are between 15 and 24 years, with about 1.1 million graduating from colleges each year. All these are prospective customers for our payments bank in future, as well as the digital ecosystem around our wallet,” said Kiran Vasireddy, senior vice-president, Paytm.

He added the company is in talks with IITs and IIMs and has made IIT-Mandi a cashless campus.

It has started operations at Lovely Professional University, Sharda University, branches of Delhi Public School, Garden City College in Bengaluru and other institutions.

Vasireddy said by the end of the next financial year, Paytm would be earning around $2 billion (about Rs 13,400 crore) in revenue from the education vertical alone.

“We would be going all out to make as many educational institutions cashless as possible,” he said.

The company would also have offline recharge points at colleges and universities and is already in talks with a number of them.

“We are going to give an online as well as an offline push to business. After making campuses cashless, the next level would be having offline touch-points inside educational institutions,” said Vasireddy.

Paytm is also targeting coaching institutes.

“Payments at coaching centers is a major expense. The institutions range from coaching for engineering, medical, civil services and MBA entrance exams. There lies a huge opportunity to streamline payments for institutions and students alike. We are getting into tie-ups with coaching centres,” Vasireddy said.

Paytm has already partnered with Akash Institute, Career Launcher, Made Easy, Vidya Mandir and Byju’s. Coaching centres are offering discounts and deals for all test-preparation material for all major exams.

Aiming for a convergence between its wallet service and payments bank, the Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led company, backed by China’s Alibaba, is looking to expand its customer base from the present 120 million to 500 million by 2020.

© 2016 Business Standard

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