Paytm founder and chief executive officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma. Photo: AFP

After Warren Buffett-owned Berkshire Hathaway Inc invested an undisclosed amount in India’s largest payment services provider Paytm, the latter has firmed up plans to acquire more users and merchants, especially in smaller towns.

As per the agreement, Berkshire’s investment manager Todd Combs, who led the investment discussions, will join the board of One97 Communications Ltd, which owns Paytm.

Paytm founder and chief executive officer Vijay Shekhar Sharma wants to use the money to expand the payments and financial-services businesses. The company wishes to focus primarily on the Indian market, reports

Sharma said the company’s current annualized run rate was more than US$45 billion and by the next financial year (March 2020), Paytm aims to have an annualized run rate of $100 billion. It has set a target of 500 million users and by the end of next year to have around 18 million merchants.

As for the challenges faced by Paytm to expand its user base, Sharma listed localization of language, expanding to smaller cities and creating more use cases on the app as a priority. The company is also looking toward government payments.

Sharma sees this deal as an opportunity for Paytm to leverage the network of Berkshire, which includes large banks and financial-services companies.

Omaha, Nebraska-based Buffett and his firm have always steered clear of money-losing Internet startups, especially in emerging markets.