Freshdesk hires LinkedIn India MD, Oyo gets a VC onboard and more top level moves

26th Oct 2015
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Growth-stage technology companies have been making the headlines for various reasons. Apart from the funding, valuation, and strategy changes, there is a lot of shuffling that happens at the top level too. With larger funding rounds, growing team sizes, it becomes essential for startups, which were initially started by a handful of people from a room, to onboard more experienced people to run the show. Earlier in July, we wrote about six major personnel changes in the Indian startup ecosystem and now it’s time for another one.


personnel changes

Freshdesk gets LinkedIn India MD

Freshdesk, a cloud-based customer support software, was started by Girish Mathrubootham from Chennai in 2010. The company is one of the most successful enterprise companies from India with more than 50,000 customers and its last series E fund raise was worth $50 million from Tiger Global, Google Capital, and Accel Partners. The company has onboarded Nishant Rao, LinkedIn India’s MD as Freshdesk’s Chief Operating Officer.

Nishant begins his role at Freshdesk in November. Over the past two years, he has played a key role in successfully scaling LinkedIn's operations in India, including doubling its member base, accelerating their business lines, and scaling the team in India. Prior to that, he held several executive positions at LinkedIn, McKinsey, and Ariba. He started his career as one of the founding members of Epicenter Technologies, India's first voice­based call centre. Nishant holds an MBA degree from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a bachelors in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin. At Freshdesk, Nishant will lead on the global operations.

Oyo Rooms now has its VC on board

Oyo Rooms is a hyper-growth startup from India started by Ritesh Agarwal. The company has recently a $100 million round led by Softbank and has grown quickly to have a presence in 130 cities and towns with 30,000 rooms. Lightspeed Venture Partners has been an early investor in the company and its principal Maninder Gulati has always been a believer in the company.

As per an ETtech report, Maninder is now joining Oyo Rooms. "Some part of my role will be operational in terms of managing customer experience and supply side, besides focussing on new areas of growth which will be both organic and inorganic," said Maninder.

Snapdeal hires Aircel CFO

Snapdeal, the online marketplace, has been hiring actively from the telecom sector. Earlier, Snapdeal got Anand Chandrasekaran as its Chief Product Officer from Airtel. Snapdeal also managed to raise a massive $500 million round from Taiwan’s Foxconn, Alibaba, and Softbank. The company has now appointed Anup Vikal as the new finance head, replacing Aakash Moondhra who quit in April.

Prior to joining Aircel, Anup was the group CFO and Head of Strategy and IT at InterGlobe Enterprises where he donned many hats. He was involved in incubating and developing new business, mergers and acquisitions, and portfolio management (source). He has also served as director and head of Finance Shared Services for Colt Technology for three years, as well as in Bharti Airtel, where he headed the finance division for close to seven years. Anup holds a bachelor's degree in Engineering from NIT, Surat, and a master's degree in Business Administration from South Gujarat University.

Flipkart has appointed Samardeep Subandh as Chief Marketing Officer

Flipkart, the e-commerce giant, has also been making a lot of top level changes. The company had seen its CTO Amod Malviya move out and recently, Mekin Maheshwari also quit. Flipkart then got Punit Soni, the former VP of Motorola as Chief Product Officer and has now onboarded Samardeep Subandh as the Chief Marketing Officer.

Samardeep has over 17 years of experience in the consumer goods industry. He has spent 15 years with Hindustan Unilever across various marketing, sales and business assignments. A management graduate from the IIM Calcutta, Samardeep joined HUL as a management trainee and worked across laundry, personal care, and household care categories. In his last assignment as Chief Sales Officer of Marico, he was instrumental in kicking off the GTM transformation journey in India. In his role as the CMO, Samardeep will be primary custodian of the Flipkart brand. His focus will be on gaining deeper customer insights, raising the level of customer centricity, and driving high level of creativity and quality in all communication. He will also be leading the social media communication charter for Flipkart.

Ola hires Infosys CFO

Ola Cabs, Uber’s counterpart in India, has turned out to be a big player with claims of more than 750,000 rides every day and more than 1,500 vehicles getting added every day. With backing from Sequoia Capital, DST Global, SoftBank, and Tiger Global, the company is currently valued at about $5 billion. The taxi aggregator has hired Rajiv Bansal, the outgoing CFO of Infosys as Ola’s finance head. Rajiv joined Infosys in 1999 and became its CFO in 2012.

(image credit: ShutterStock)

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