paytm: Rs 10 crore Paytm fund for Mini App Store coders


MUMBAI: Paytm has set up a Rs 10 crore investment fund to attract local app developers to its newly launched Mini App Store, as the fintech company attempts to garner support from the domestic tech ecosystem in its “battle” against Google.

In a virtual gathering organised by the Noida-based company on Thursday, CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma urged developers to join Paytm’s Mini App Store, promising zero developer fee or commissions. Paytm said more than 5,000 developers from across the country joined the virtual conference.

Sharma has set an ambitious target of “at least one million mini-apps” on the Mini App Store platform to stop what he called “the victimisation of 30% charges Google is putting on all of us.”

To be sure, Paytm’s mini app store — unlike Play Store — does not allow users to install apps on smartphones. Instead, it allows developers to create a simplified interface on top of Paytm’s in-app flow.

Describing the investment as an incubation fund, Sharma said it would be used to develop new solutions and help the local app developers who join the Mini App Store. Paytm’s app was temporarily barred from Google’s Play Store in September for allegedly violating the technology giant’s anti-gambling and cashback related policies.

The fund comes at a time when the Indian startup community has raised concerns over Google’s alleged misuse of its dominant market position after the US-based company said last month that Indian businesses selling digital goods through Play Store apps would be charged a 30% commission, in line with its global billing policy.

Sharma has been critical of Google since Paytm’s delisting from Play Store, and again expressed concern over “monopoly risks” in powers exercised by Google.

Sharma was joined by founders and tech investors such as Vishal Gondal of GOQii, Anand Lunia, General Partner – India Quotient, and Rajesh Sawhney, founder of GSF Accelerator, who also criticised Google and other tech companies including Facebook and Twitter.

Gondal, also the cofounder of nCore Games which is set to launch mobile action game FAU-G, said at the conference that Google’s move is a “wake-up call” and called for Indian regulators to take a view.

Anand Lunia, the founding member of early stage investment firm India quotient, said that India requires a new regulator to regulate the internet space. Besides Sharma, these founders are also part of an industry grouping of startup entrepreneurs that met Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Secretary Ajay Sawhney on Saturday to highlight some of their concerns.

Sharma, however, did not disclose details of the steps they would take to resolve the issue with Google. “We are not in a position to disclose the details. We would formalise the grouping and take all adequate action available to us,” he said. Paytm CEO urged developers to join Mini App Store, promising zero deve- loper fee or commissions.





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