Indian startups are continuing with their high-profile silicon valley hiring, with Stayzilla being the latest entrant into it. The platform, which offers personalized home stays and alternate stays, has hired former Twitter Director, Pankaj Gupta as Chief Product Officer and President of Technology.
Pankaj was most recently at Twitter in San Francisco where he had joined as an early employee and led the Personalization and Recommendations team. He and his team were behind many of Twitter’s successful search, discovery, and other data products and technologies across web and mobile.
On his appointment, Yogendra Vasupal, Co-Founder and CEO, Stayzilla, said,
“Pankaj brings with him years of experience leading product and technology for a platform built around a huge community. With Stayzilla’s growth in homestays and community-based hosting, we could not have found a better person or time for him to lead our Product and Technology.”
Pankaj will help Stayzilla in building world-class products and technologies. On joining Stayzilla, Pankaj said,
“I’m excited to be working with Yogi and Stayzilla wherein I can put my passion for innovation and building consumer products together. I look forward to working with a great team on this amazing opportunity.”
Stayzilla — like Airbnb — is a platform (website and app) for verified homestays and alternate stays in India. It has more than 55,000 homestay and alternate stay options across 4000 towns in the country.
The platform caters to both homeowners and travelers looking for differentiated, unique stay experiences. It offers special selective ‘community’ feature on the app that matches hosts and guests by their preferences and shared interests.
Comparing Airbnb and Stayzilla, Pankaj said in his blog post on Medium that Stayzilla was adding one Airbnb in India every month. He wrote,
“Stayzilla opportunity falls in that sweetest of spots at the intersection of a rapidly growing market, a fine team, and a massive growth ahead of it — the perfect fuel for a rocket ship in the making.”
Before Twitter, Pankaj has founded two startups that were both acquired. He has published more than 30 papers and holds more than 20 patents. Pankaj will be shifting base from San Francisco to join Stayzilla at their Bengaluru office.