After the Indian payments startup One 97 Communications suffered a catastrophic first-day collapse following its initial public offering, the company's founder and chief executive Vijay Shekhar Sharma compared his company to Tesla Inc. - and by extension, drew parallels between himself and Elon Musk, Bloomberg reported Monday.
Paytm, a digital payments company, plummeted for a second session on Monday, losing $7.75 billion in market value since its disastrous debut in India's largest IPO last week.
In comparison to the offer price of 2,150 rupees, shares slid 17.78% to 1,271 rupees. On the day of the IPO, Nov. 18, they plummeted by more than 27%.
As valuations come under investor scrutiny, Paytm's market meltdown has prompted questions about future IPOs on the Indian market, particularly that of smaller rival MobiKwik and hotel aggregator OYO.
According to those who attended, Sharma convened a four-hour town hall to rally staff who had witnessed the company's stock plummet 27% on Thursday.
The 43-year-old billionaire urged them to look past the initial setback and concentrate on the long-term benefits of introducing digital payments to the country's rapidly expanding internet population. The parent business of the Paytm service is One 97 Communications.
Sharma, who has expressed his respect for Musk and his purchase of a Tesla vehicle on Twitter, reminded colleagues that Tesla's stock was once among the most heavily shorted in the world.
But, he continued, the company endured years of adversity to become one of the most well-known brands in the world, as well as the world's most valuable automobile builder.
Sharma hailed Tesla's founder when the company beat Toyota Motor Corp. to become the world's most valuable manufacturer in July last year.
"After so many doubters and people attempting to pull Musk down, he has proven what he is capable of!" Sharma said in a tweet, signing off with the Hindi aphorism: "One day, my time too will come," he said in quotes by Bloomberg.
Tesla's stock jumped 40% on the first day after its IPO in 2010. They eventually retreated to less than $4 per share before surging to more than $1 trillion in market value.
"In India, IPOs have been hot, so a fall in larger markets will affect these equities the most," said Deepak Shenoy, founder and CEO of Bengaluru-based Capitalmind.
Meanwhile, Paytm announced on Sunday that gross merchandise value, a measure of overall sales, processed on its platform in October increased by 131% year over year.