India People Dealbook: Ex Microsoft exec Gollapali joins Yatra; Sudeep Tandon joins FreeCharge; Chaturvedi to head strategy at Mobikwik

Demand for experienced professionals in the e-commerce space is on a high. Photo: Freedigitalphotos.net, By: suphakit73, Image ID: 100184208

With India emerging as one of the world’s fastest growing e-commerce markets, it is not surprising that this sector is betting big on talent acquisition strategy to steer growth. The demand for experienced industry professionals continues to soar in this sunrise industry. Dealstreetasia captures some recent movements and new appointments in few venture and private equity-backed e-commerce companies. 

Yatra appoints Chakrapani Gollapali as chief business officer

Online travel portal Yatra.com has appointed Chakrapani Gollapali, a former Microsoft India executive, as chief business officer of its holidays division. In his new role, Chakrapani will be largely responsible for the strategic direction, operational execution, and the overall business results for the holidays division of Yatra.

The new appointment will enable Yatra to deliver an integrated organizational approach for product innovation and customer delight across the domestic, international and exotic destinations spanning across all its channels including online, contact centers, retail and direct sales, the company said in a press statement.

With a view to expand its reach in the market and enhance the holiday packages business, Yatra.com had raised Rs 140 crore ($ 21 million) in a funding round last year led by new investors including technology venture capital fund IDG Ventures India, and Vertex Venture Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd. The portal’s existing investors, including seed investor Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), had also participated in the funding.

Dhruv Shringi, Co-Founder and CEO, Yatra said, “Chakrapani brings with him a legacy of outstanding experience in the technology and consumer businesses that will be key in formulating and driving our holiday business, which is a vital area for the company.”

With over two decades of experience in technology, mobile, and consumer businesses, Chakrapani has had led several established and also incubating businesses. In his last role, he served as the country general manager for Microsoft India, leading all of Microsoft’s core consumer categories. He also spent six years with Nokia as the general manager of the Eseries Smartphones business in India and also in the global organization that created the mobile payments business for Nokia.

“I hope to inject a fresh perspective to the business and help dramatically build scale while making Yatra the most preferred brand choice for holiday travellers in India,” Chakrapani said.

FreeCharge appoints Sudeep Tandon as chief business officer

In a big to strengthen its senior leadership team, online recharge and couponing service Freecharge has appointed Sudeep Tandon as chief business officer of the company. Tandon was key advisor during early days of Freecharge and has deep understanding about the brand’s vision. In his capacity as a chief business officer, Tandon will be responsible for corporate strategy and strategic tie-ups of the company, and will report to Kunal Shah, CEO and co-founder of Freecharge.

The firm’s move to revamp its senior management team comes after it was acquired by e-retailer Snapdeal for an undisclosed amount in April this year. With the acquisition, Snapdeal intends to boost its reach in the country’s fast-growing mobile transactions business.

Tandon carries an experience of over eight years in telecom and technology strategy, as well as product and business development areas. Prior to joining Freecharge, Tandon was an engagement manager at Cartesian, a telecom, media and technology (TMT) focused consulting firm. He also worked at Samsung’s global strategy group in South Korea as an associate global strategist.

Early this year, Freecharge had raised Rs 520 crore ($80 million) in funding from a host of investors including San Francisco-based head fund Valiant Capital Management and Hong Kong-based hedge fund Tybourne Capital Management, to execute product innovations in mobile space, expand team, and boost marketing initiatives.

Freecharge allows users to top up amounts on their mobile phone or internet connections and get coupons as a reward for using its service.

Mobikwik appoints Manish Chaturvedi as strategy chief

Mobile payments platform MobiKwik has elevated head of strategy Mrinal Sinha to the position of Chief Operating Officer, as per a report of PTI. The Sequoia Capital funded company has also appointed former American Express executive Manish Chaturvedi as its chief sales officer.

Sinha, who joined MobiKwik last year, will now be involved in directing, administering, and coordinating the operational activities, MobiKwik said in a statement. He will also have the mandate to drive multiple CXO-level functions at MobiKwik, as per the statement.

Besides, Chaturvedi will lead partnerships with retailers at MobiKwik and will be responsible for driving acceptance of MobiKwik wallet across formats and industries. He will also manage key initiatives of the firm with banks and government entities.

MobiKwik had raised Rs 165 crore ($25 million) from a clutch of investors, including Tree Line Asia, Cisco Investments, American Express and Sequoia Capital to expand its offline presence by increasing physical point of sale (PoS) locations across the country. The start-up claims to have 25 million users and 50,000 retailers on board. Its merchant partners include Uber, Meru Cabs, Big Bazaar, WHSmith India, Cafe Coffee Day, PVR and BookMyShow, among others.

 

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.