Digital payment app Paytm on Thursday announced that it has set up a Rs 10 crore grant to incentivise developers and startups developing apps to publish their mobile browser APIs on its recently launched Mini App Store.
The company said it will not charge a developer fee or a merchant discount rate (MDR) for “mini apps” of physical stores listed on the platform. Additionally, users can also access nearby stores and offline merchants based on their location, CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said in an online conference.
To be sure, the “mini apps” on the platform offer users access to mobile browser versions of apps that Paytm has partnered with.
“We are committed to developing a technology ecosystem that champions the innovations of Indian developers. We are not just backend developers, India developers can build the best apps in the world,” Sharma said.
“Today, we are announcing a Rs 10 crore investment fund for mini app developers in the country. A Rs 10 crore equity investment with some of the most lenient investment terms that you can expect,” he said.
Paytm launched the Mini App platform, which publishes progressive web app (PWA) versions of third party apps, weeks after Google Play took down the Paytm app for violating its gambling policies. Paytm was running campaigns around the cricket tournament IPL, incentivising users to create a dream team. The firm’s fantasy sport app Paytm First Games was also restored only recently after it was taken down by Google Play on similar charges.
Additionally, Google also introduced a policy change for apps listed on its Android store, which mandated all in-app purchases to be routed through its own billing system, with a compliance deadline of September 30, 2021. As per the system, Google charges a 30% service fee on transactions made through its billing system.
However, after a group of startup founders and Indian technology CEOs, including Paytm’s Sharma, approached the government in protest, Google extended the compliance time to March 31, 2022.
Sharma, in his address on Thursday, said that Indian startup developers group would come together to “make an independent congregation” and compared Google to a toll collector for charging 30% fee on each transaction. “The least they can provide is customer support to the app’s user base,” he said.