amazon / flipkart

While many have considered India a victim of ‘Brain Drain’ (even though that’s actually not the case), Flipkart is on its way for at least a partial reversal of that trend. The Indian e-commerce poster boy has hired ex-Google Exec Punit Soni, as its Chief Product Officer.

His duties will include micromanaging Flipkart’s current and future products,their design and the people hired to design them. Product definition, strategy, innovation and marketing, key players in the big market stakes, will be one of the many things under his supervision, along with working on the user interface.

He might not have had Flipkart anywhere in the scene contemplating his next move, but looks like that changed when he came to Bangalore to observe their operations firsthand. This is what he accounts about his visit,

I could see how the spread of an organized e-commerce system was actually changing people’s lives. It was probably that evening that I realized this was not just a run-of-the-mill job

adding that the energy in Bangalore feels like the Valley and Flipkart with a footprint of millions is at the forefront. It is the opportunity to create the biggest impact and made sense after the amazing journey at Google.

The high profile hire opens doors for more sought after, talented hires. And it also reflects positively for Flipkart, who is looking to make solid ground at Silicon Valley, providing a finesse to mobile operations and making conclusive moves when it come to fickle markets and their challenges. Another high profile hire being  ex McKinsey director Saikiran Krishnamurthy as Chief Operating Officer of its commerce division.

This sounds like good news for the booming, shifting and evolving startup scene in India, with Mr. Soni saying-

I would like to build an absolutely world-class product designing and engineering team. Some of them will eventually go and build 100 different start-ups.

Flipkart has been aggressively looking out for top-class execs across India and Silicon Valley. Multiple media reports have claimed that the e-commerce giant is also looking at hiring people from renowned foreign institutions like Harvard, Oxford among others.

Flipkart has also been raising funds at an aggressive pace, with close to $2 Billion being raised last year itself. Reports have further pegged that the E-com giant is now looking for a fresh $1.7 Billion round, which would take its valuation to over $15 Billion

Flipkart currently staffs more than 14,000 employees and receives a staggering 8 million daily visits from 26 million-plus registered users.

However, it continues to face stiff competition from Amazon India, Softbank-backed Snapdeal and numerous other smaller, but growing e-retail startups. Moreover, Flipkart’s rivals have started acquiring smaller, specialised stores (Snapdeal’s Exclusively acqusition) to increase their inventory and create a solid differentiating factor when compared to Flipkart.


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