In War For Talent, India’s Top E-commerce Startups Are Raiding Silicon Valley
India’s thriving homegrown e-commerce startups are increasingly trekking to the Silicon Valley in search of top-notch talent. This heralds the reversal of a decades-long hiring trend – until now the best Indian engineers headed to the technology firms in the Bay Area because of a dearth of opportunities at home.
Rohit Bansal, co-founder and COO of Snapdeal, told Forbes that he is arriving in San Francisco this week to interview a hundred of the Valley’s star technologists. The New Delhi-headquartered Snapdeal, backed by SoftBank, BlackRock and eBay among others, will recruit up to a dozen executives for its operations in Bangalore and New Delhi. “India is ultra-exciting, the e-commerce market here is expanding at a faster pace than even the United States so the career upside is huge for these executives,” Bansal said. As a result, the head hunting scenario for India’s startups is starting better than ever before. “Word has got around that India is happening and that all the growth and thrill is here. There is a lot of interest,” he said.
Bansal, who teamed up with school buddy Kunal Bahl to launch Snapdeal five years ago, said India has a huge base of raw talent (the startup is hiring 1,000 engineers for its R&D center in Bangalore). “But we are looking to hire catalysts who can raise the bar and help us build the platform we envision.”
This spells a brain gain or reverse brain drain to Bangalore, India’s own technology hub. The country’s biggest online retailer and Snapdeal rival, Flipkart, backed by the likes of Tiger Global and Naspers, has hired two Google engineering VPs, Peeyush Ranjan and Punit Soni, who have relocated from Mountain View to Flipkart’s new offices in Bangalore’s Outer Ring Road. Flipkart’s subsidiary, the fashion portal Myntra is going on a talent hunt in the Silicon Valley, its CEO Mukesh Bansal said earlier this month.
Snapdeal itself has just snagged its first Silicon Valley hire. Former Cisco and Symantec executive Gaurav Gupta joined this week as vice president of engineering. Restaurant discovery portal Zomato hired Namita Gupta, Facebook’s Engineering Partner for Games as its chief product officer.
Snapdeal’s Bansal said his firm is looking to ramp up talent in three distinct areas – product management experts who can help build products, design engineers who can design for first-generation mobile internet users and engineering architects who can help handle the massive scale.
Quite besides the excitement, the jobs at Indian startups are attractive on other counts as well. Flush with investor funds, these firms are offering Silicon Valley salaries and attractive stock options.
“Today we are hiring for Bangalore, tomorrow we could be hiring for our Silicon Valley expansion,” hinted Bansal.