We bring to you the latest edition of movers and shakers of the week in the Indian startup ecosystem.
In one of the important shakers, Bengaluru-headquartered furniture rental company Urban Ladder suffered another jolt this year as cofounder Rajiv Srivatsa is stepping down from his role. In a LinkedIn post, Srivatsa said that after the last eight years, he will transition out of his active leadership role as chief technology and product officer at Urban Ladder at the end of this month. He will continue to be an engaged shareholder and board member, and work with cofounder and CEO Ashish Goel on strategic initiatives.
On the international front, SoftBank finally confirmed that it has planned to invest more than $10 Bn to acquire over coworking space provider WeWork. Reportedly, the Japanese investor has also paid-off around $1.7 Bn to its co-founder Adam Neumann to give up the control of the company.
Other than this, following the $1 Bn acquisition of Intel’s smartphone modem business in July, Apple has sharpened its focus on developing modem chipset design for cellular connectivity in its devices, with the help of 2200 former Intel engineers. The Indian unit of the company will reportedly be incorporating 160 Intel engineers in Bengaluru for the same.
Important Movers And Shakers Of The Week
NestAway Sees Another Cofounder Exit
In a LinkedIn post, Smruti Parida, cofounder and chief technology officer of NestAway said that he is stepping down from his role. However, he said that he will continue to be a well-wisher and a cheerleader for NestAway from the sidelines.
NestAway was founded in January 2015 by Amarendra Sahu, Smruti Parida, Deepak Dhar and Jitendra Jagadev. The company is an online marketplace for home rentals that turns unfurnished houses into fully-furnished and managed apartments and rents them to pre-verified tenants.
Before starting NestAway in 2015, Smruti Parida worked with Microsoft as a Program Manager, and also cofounded another startup, Zero Heights Technologies in 2010.
Going forward, Parida is exploring his next step. In his post, Parida said he will be waiting to discover his next mojo in life and may try something new in the coming days.
Pee Safe Appoints Vice President, Growth
Pee Safe, a hygiene and wellness brand, has announced that ex-VanityCube Co-Founder Pragya Upadhyay has joined the company as Vice President – Growth. In this capacity, Pragya will spearhead Pee Safe’s B2B Partnerships and Alliances and steer the business towards 200% growth over the next 3 years.
Pragya is an entrepreneur with over 8 years of experience in digital marketing, operations, product management and process improvement. She co-founded VanityCube.in, India’s first travelling salon for men and women with operations in Delhi/NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune. She also successfully raised INR 23 crore from angel and institutional investors.
Prior to Vanity Cube, she was with a company called Protiviti where she was part of the financial industry, risk and compliance, business process improvement team.
Pragya has a Bachelors from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai and MBA in Finance from the Xavier Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai.
Sequoia-Backed Stove Kraft Appoints Its CEO
Privately-held kitchen appliances company Stove Kraft has appointed Rajiv Mehta as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Rajiv, who previously was the Managing Director of Puma and CEO of Arvind Fashion Brands Ltd & Arvind Sports Lifestyle Ltd, comes with an experience of establishing multi-million dollar companies in the retail sector.
In his new role, he will be responsible for driving profitable growth, enhancing brand equity, attracting top talent, strengthening the trust within the community of consumers and distributors and increasing the reach for the StoveKraft brands.
After a MSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Rajiv pursued a MBA degree from INSEAD, Singapore.
Other Important Movers And Shakers Of The Week
InsuranceDekho Bolsters Its Leadership Team
InsuranceDekho has announced several new additions to its leadership team. The company has strengthened the top-level management by appointing Ish Babar as cofounder and CTO; Ranjeet Singh as National Sales Head and Rohit Khurana as Head of Claims.
Ish Babbar has over 20 years of experience in building product, full-stack tech, mobile apps and high-performance computing in e-commerce applications. Before joining InsuranceDekho, he worked in leadership roles with Yatra, Ibibo and Hughes. During his tenure with Yatra, Ish was Vice President, Engineering, for B2C and SME products. At InsuranceDekho, he will focus on Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and data lead innovative product features in the insurance domain.
With close to 17 years of experience, Ranjeet Singh’s strength is in scaling up and heading the performance of business verticals. Prior to joining InsuranceDekho, he was associated with Future Generali India Insurance Company Limited where he was responsible for the entire retail business in North India.
With a proven track record in delivering on revenue, profitability, operational targets and maintaining strong relationships with partners and internal/external stakeholders, Singh brings in-depth knowledge and experience that will contribute to InsuranceDekho’s growth story.
Previously associated with Bharti AXA as AVP, Claims, Rohit Khurana has more than 23 years of experience in the insurance sector. A Licentiate from Insurance Institute of India, Rohit Khurana has vast experience in customer service and retails claims handling.
He is well associated/ connected with stakeholders in general insurance ecosystem and has worked closely with channel partners in developing and retaining business in the North region. At Bharati AXA, he worked in fraud detection and control. In his current role at InsuranceDekho, Khurana will build a similar growth path for his division/ department.
BuzzOne Influencer Marketing Expands India Leadership Team
BuzzOne Influencer Marketing has appointed Arun Upadhyay as National Sales Head of the firm. Prior to joining BuzzOne, Arun was managing digital sales and branded content (North & East) News18.com.
In his work experience of more than 13 years, he has held key positions in Flipkart Ads group, AdiQuity and Ozone Media. Arun brings with him a wealth of diversified experience in digital sales, branded content, display, mobile ad-sales, performance ad-sales, programmatic sales and a hands-on end to end operations experience in the start-up.
At BuzzOne, Arun will be responsible for developing iys sales strategies for India. He will oversee implementing and managing the sales activities, identify new market opportunities and define the actions required to bring a new dynamic to our business and generate new growth.
CarveNiche Appoints Its Cofounder
CarveNiche Technologies, an edtech company, announced the appointment of Vivek Shaurya as the Co-Founder (Chief Experience Officer & MD). Vivek previously held the position of Senior Director, Customer Experience at Infosys. Vivek comes with over 22 years of rich expertise and has held various leadership positions at Infosys.
Vivek brings significant industry experience and a track record of successfully setting up strategic delivery units & business offering and leading them to exponential growth phase. His deep expertise lies in technology, customer value realization through innovative solutions & go-to-market initiatives.
Lendingkart Appoints Its First Chief Risk Officer
Lendingkart has appointed Nagarajan S. as its Chief Risk Officer. Based in Bengaluru, Nagarajan will manage the risk operations at Lendingkart.
A seasoned financial services professional with over 22 years, Nagarajan S. brings solid cross functional experience in banking and financial services having successfully led Risk Management across Retail Banking Segment and SME segment across multiple geographies including India, US, South Asia & South-East Asia with in-depth experience of managing diverse groups.
Nagarajan S. joins Lendingkart from Standard Chartered Bank where he served as the Regional Head of Retail Risk Operations-South Asia, responsible for overseeing Underwriting and Fraud Risk Management across all retail asset products. Prior to Standard Chartered, Nagarajan was the Country Risk Manager for Nissan Renault Financial Services India Private Limited, a captive sales finance NBFC. Also, Nagarajan spent 16 years of his career with GE Capital’s Consumer financing business.