InMobi CFO joins Practo, Freecharge has a new CEO and Snapdeal loses its CPO - 10 industry movements that shook Indian startups in May


Flipkart deferring placements, Helpchat firing some of its employees and InMobi losing a chunk of its top management. May, it seems like, is a tough month for big startups, at least in terms of their talent. But that hasn’t stopped the smaller ones from hiring and signing these top executives onto their teams.

Anand Chandrasekaran (L), Kunal Shah (C) and Govind Rajan (R) at a Snapdeal event before the HR changes

With big shuffles happening, here’s a peek into the top executive movements that caught our eye in May:


  • InMobi CFO Manish Dugar quits, joins Practo

The news came on May 2 that healthcare startup Practo had appointed Manish Dugar as its global CFO. In March, Practo was seen foraying into the Brazilian turf by setting foot in São Paulo, Brazil. The startup is already present in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Apart from the CFO duties, Manish is also tasked with scaling Practo’s business across geographies.

Manish was working as the CFO in native advertising firm InMobi since June 2013. Prior to InMobi, he held key positions in Wipro, acting as the CFO for the company’s IT Business as well as the CEO for its BPO business globally.


  • Anand Chandrasekaran quits Snapdeal

Having been dethroned from the second position, e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal saw its Chief Product Officer Anand Chandrasekaran quit to pursue entrepreneurship. Having joined in June last year, Anand was running a product for Bharti Airtel before this and had also served as senior director for search products at Yahoo Inc., in the Silicon Valley.

Anand co-founded Aeroprise, a mobile applications software company, which was acquired by BMC Software in 2011.

Further, Snapdeal’s rival Flipkart also lost its Chief Product Officer Punit Soni in April this year.


  • Govind Rajan becomes the new CEO and Chairman of Freecharge

Not just Snapdeal, but also its subsidiary Freecharge saw major appointments, with Govind Rajan appointed as the CEO of the company. Co-founder Kunal Shah was elevated to the post of the Chairman.

Joining in August 2015, Govind was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Freecharge and the Chief Strategy Officer of Snapdeal. In his previous roles, Govind was the Chief Marketing Officer (B2C) at Bharti Airtel and concurrently also served as the CEO for Airtel Money.

Govind Rajan(L) and Kunal Shah(R)
  • InMobi’s Director of Operations Samuel John joins app advertising startup GreedyGame

Serving as the Director of Operations for InMobi's North American market since October last year, Samuel John left his position last week to join another native advertising platform, GreedyGame. According to Arpit Jain, CEO, GreedyGame, Samuel joins to help the startup build processes internally to scale up in different geographies.

Live since March last year, GreedyGame is looking to raise its Series A round, and expanding to Middle East and Southeast Asian geographies.


  • Holidify Co-founder Rohit Shroff becomes a part of GirnarSoft

The parent company to, and, GirnarSoft brought on board Holidify Co-founder Rohit Shroff this month, as Associate Director - Product and Growth. In his new stint, Rohit is expected to improve GirnarSoft’s properties from a product standpoint, whilst driving growth of these platforms.

Rohit is not the first entrepreneur to join the team at GirnarSoft. The company has appointed several founders in the past, including Mayank Batheja, Founder of LetsIntern; Umesh Hora, Founder of The Mind Cafe India; Abhishek Shah, Co-founder of and, as well as Amit Monga, Founder of Fitrrati and


  • Vice President Amit Das joins UrbanClap as VP- Design

Services marketplace UrbanClap appointed Amit Das to lead the product development and design function within UrbanClap.

Working as the Head of Design Team in Housing since March 2015, Amit had also started web designing startup Kria Interactive.


  • Former Twitter Director Pankaj Gupta joins Stayzilla as Chief Product Officer

Earlier serving as the Head of Personalisation and Recommendation team at Twitter, Pankaj Gupta joined Stayzilla on May 9, as Chief Product Officer and President of Technology.

Co-founder of two startups - Phulki (which got acquired by Saavn), and Specialized Types, Pankaj is yet to shift base from San Francisco to Bengaluru.

Pankaj Gupta joins Stayzilla as CPO
  • KPMG Director Dilip Tuli joins

To assist with strategy and oversee new business initiatives (such as transaction facilitation and fulfilment services,) real-estate platform announced the appointment of former KPMG Director Dilip Tuli as Senior Vice President - Strategy & New Business Initiatives.

During the last two years, Dilip was a member of the team responsible for Logistics and Industrial Markets at KPMG. He has also practised deal advisory around KPMG’s financial, commercial and forensic risks as well as opportunities of their investment plans.


  • Delhi-based AHA Taxis adds logistic platform co-founders to its team

Online outstation travel aggregator AHA Taxis appointed Shailly Tyagi, earlier Co-founder at markNmove, and Ghanendra Singh, earlier Co-founder at LogiXir to its team.

While Shailly joined as the Head of Customer Experience, overseeing the operations of this function; Ghanendra has joined as the Head of Driver-Partner Engagement.


  • Financial products marketplace Rubique gets its Channel Acquisition Head

Last week, Rubique announced hiring corporate banking and insurance old-timer Aditya Narula as its Channel Acquisition Head. In his new capacity, Aditya is expected to lead and direct the expansion plans of Rubique's channels of customer acquisition and creating strategy to expand across locations for better customer reach.


Samuel John quits InMobi to join GreedyGame

Is there something wrong? 

Business cycles seem to be tough for India’s unicorns, with Flipkart deferring placements of IIM-Ahmedabad graduates and InMobi losing close to a dozen mid-and-senior-level executives over the past six months.

Both unicorns have blamed restructuring for their recent moves. Flipkart was quoted saying,

“We are undergoing restructuring that will further consolidate our leadership in the e-commerce industry in India. Consequently, it becomes important to redesign the campus programme to align it with our new business focus. Completing our restructuring process and consequent redesign of our campus program in our best assessment will take the next couple of quarters and hence the revision of joining date to December is the earliest possible.”

On the other hand, Arun Pattabhiraman, Global Head of Marketing at InMobi, was seen saying,

“Every engine at InMobi is focussed on ensuring that (it) turns profitable within the next 60-90 days. As part of this exercise, InMobi has taken several steps towards driving cost efficiencies, such as pausing moonshot projects and restructuring teams to ensure investments are aligned with the right teams, business verticals and regions."

Apart from Manish Dugar and Samuel John, according to reports, InMobi has also seen exits from Naresh Agarwal, who till January served as Vice President of Engineering, Big Data and Audience Platform; Khushboo Gupta, who heads strategy and operations of the company's app download business and is currently serving her notice period; and Ravikiran Vadapally, who served as VP of Finance, resigned in February.

These exits come at a time when valuations of startups worldwide are witnessing a slowdown. Rumors also blame insufficient funding and business slowdowns as the cause of these exits.

Shutting their chat wing, Helpchat fired 150 of its employees last week. Sources close to YourStory say the number goes up to 280 when the Delhi employees asked to leave the company are inluded.

With bigger startups receiving negative publicity around hiring slowdowns and top level exits, it is interesting to see how they pace up in the latter half of 2016.


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