Two months back, when Bangalore-based gaming startup Moonfrog Labs landed Mark Skaggs (co-creator of FarmVille) as a director, Mark had summed up his move as follows:
“I am an expert at making games and Moonfrog is an expert at India, so we’ll combine forces and make some really special things for gamers here.”
Mark’s move not only shortened the distance between the Valley and Indian startups, it was also a testimony to the fact that Indian startups are now developing into entities, and also attracting top talent from places as far as San Francisco. These are the new love affairs in the startup system – between top quality experience and promising startups.
Exemplifying this trend, this week, Mumbai-based wearable tech startup GOQii announced roping in ex-Google fellow Amit Singhal as a member of its board of directors in preparation of its impending launch in the US this month. Amit, who is regarded as the master of Google ‘ranking algorithm’ and headed Google’s search organisation, retired from Google in February this year to pursue his own interests after a 15-year stint.
Amit’s engagement with GOQii comes on the back of his interest in tech and the hope to bring a lot of learning from his past work at Google, which included deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning to make search better and faster. Founder Vishal Gondal is banking on the solid experience of the ex-Googler for his fledgling startup. As per Vishal, Amit has the experience of seeing a small company scale up to billions of dollars and has the prowess in data science that could help GOQii on the technology front.
Thus in landing Amit as a board member, Vishal is banking on the tried and tested mantra of building a strong startup by getting the right people at the helm – something that has been a trend last year, as evidenced from the list below. These are leaders who can prove as effective mentors and provide strategic intelligence to them in their startup journey.
For these top executives, helping a startup grow and scale is a thrill. After spending decades honing their skills in their chosen fields, the startup challenge is a big draw for them. Meanwhile, for startup founders, it is nothing short of a boon to land these proven minds and gain from their immense knowledge in the treacherously early stages of their growth. Of course, how much moolah and equity does the startup have to part with in order to land these top hires is another story altogether.