Inventor of Hive at Facebook Starts Up in India – with Joydeep Sen Sarma, Qubole

Its not often that the Silicon Valley gives back to its largest foreign contributor, but over the past few years, an increasing number of valley based entrepreneurs have set shop in India, giving the ecosystem a much needed injection of top quality talent. This particular injection that we’re showcasing today is rather potent. Joydeep Sen Sarma is one of the inventors of Hive, Facebook’s propriety framework and associated query language  (now open-sourced  . After 4 years of working with the social networking behemoth  Joydeep, along with Ashish Thusoo has founded Qubole, a Bangalore based startup which offers big data analysis tools as a service hosted on the Cloud.

Entrepreneurial by Nature

Prior to his much celebrated stint at Facebook, Joydeep had worked with NetApp, where again he worked on various prototyping roles. Joydeep says “I was always known for starting up something or the other. In the two corporates that I’ve worked for, I was lucky enough to be given the freedom to do the things I wanted to do.”

Joydeep further shares that he has had his own share of bad luck with entrepreneurship. “In early 2001, I had started my own venture which didn’t do too well and soon went under. I know what failure in entrepreneurship is like and there was a time when I was very uncertain about my future. But somehow the urge to start something up never died away and here I am, starting up again!”

On Raising Funds and Challenges

“Being where I’m from and my experiences, it has been relatively easy to talk with investors and we had raised an angle round of 1 million last year for product development. Now that we have a product that is ready, we’re looking to hire some engineering, design and marketing talent and probably raise the next round of funding soon,” shared Joydeep.

Qubole currently offers a managed version version of Hive and Hadoop as a service hosted on the cloud so as to reduce infrastructure and human resource cost to organizations which work with large amounts of diverse data. It is looking to further offer more services such as UZI and SCOOP based off the cloud.

Joydeep believes that his challenges with Qubole are yet to come; “things have been good so far and I hope it stays like that for some more time! I also think that one challenge we are going to face is in choosing what not to do. In our case, a lot of things are going to look interesting at different times, but we have to shut some of those things out. That’s going to be hard.”

Differences between the Valley and Bangalore

Having worked in the Valley and Bangalore, we asked Joydeep why there is such a vast difference in the kind of ventures and work that comes from the two places. He said, “I wrote a very popular answer on Quora regarding the same, but to summarize, I think the major chunk of innovation and development is done by small part of the society. These people are usually out-liers. These people come with very skewed set of capabilities and come across as socially awkward. The American system caters for these out-liers and you will see 14 year old kids graduating from college, while in India, this is very rare. If a system doesn’t cater for the change makers, how will it ever produce innovation?”

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Future Plans

“I think the plans for the near future is going to be just Grow Grow and Grow! But in the longer run, I want to have built something that I’m proud of and which has a culture that will allow it to be self sustainable. I would want it to run with or without me,” says Joydeep regarding Qubole’s future.

Most people in India wouldn’t leave a large organization especially if they were as respected and revered as Joydeep was at Facebook, but he shared that it is a culture in the Valley that if you’ve successfully spent 4 years at an organization as have been responsible for its growth, its your cue to startup. We hope some of that culture rubs off on the Indian ecosystem as well and wish Joydeep and Qubole all the best for its already promising future.

Click here to Visit Qubole.

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