In Race to Start Up Anew, They are Leaving the Valley for Garden City

New Delhi
Top Indian talent in Silicon Valley moves back home to join star startups
Brain gain -of the top-of-the-line Silicon Valley variety. Top Indian talent is moving from globally iconic American technology companies to India’s star startups. And homes are being shifted from Bay Area to Bangalore.Examples: from Google to Flipkart, from Disney and Facebook to Zomato, from Symantec to Snapdeal, and more. Matching dollar salaries and the sheer range of future career opportunities are the hooks India’s tech blue chips are offering to Indian talent in Silicon Valley. As Vivek Wadhwa, entrepreneur-turned-academic and sharp Silicon Valley watcher, said: “India is the new land of opportunity for these Indians who had left home.“

“The smart entrepreneurs have already returned, tens of thousands more will return over the next 2-3 years,“ Wadhwa predicts.

Or as Tanmay Saksena, a Stanford graduate who quit his job as a vice-president at Disney’s Palo Alto, California, offices to join Zomato, said: “India is smelling like the Silicon Valley.“

Saksena and many others are being wooed by at least half-adozen Indian startups valued anywhere between $1 billion and $15 billion. All salaries look handsome and Silicon Valley-competitive in dollar terms, and most assignments involve complex technology solutions for the mobile platform.

What’s more, startups such as Zomato, whose restaurant discovery app is now present in 22 countries, are articulating their ambitions on a global scale. For Silicon Valley’s top talent, nothing attracts more than a mission to dominate the world. “The idea is always world domination, if you speak anything less than that, you are not ambitious enough.When I was with Disney, it was the same thing. If I work with a company, I don’t want small goals, I want to rule the world, and I sensed it here at Zomato,“ said Saksena.

GETTING VALLEY SALARIES

Earlier this year in March, two of Google’s engineering VPs -Piyush Ranjan and Punit Soni -relocated from the Bay Area to work with India’s largest ecommerce company Flipkart. Both are being paid Valley salaries too -$5-6 million annual packages.

“This market is unbelievable. It’s so intense and fastmoving,“ said Soni. “Coming from Bay Area, I never thought I’d do this, but it’s just a whole new level of intensity here. I never thought I’d say that,“ he said.

Soni moved back from the Bay Area to join Flipkart and wants to attract more global talent to his team. “I have no personal reasons to be here.I’m coming here because this is the most interesting thing that I found at this point in my career to do,“ said Soni, who has spent nearly a decade at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View.

“India is at the forefront of the mobile innovation,“ he said. “I know a lot of smart people in the Bay Area who would go to Kenya if it was proven that the explosion would happen there,“ he said.

Agrees Jai Mani, who was hired as the lead product manager by Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi to lead product management in India. “I made the decision to move here in less than 30 seconds,“ said Mani. “Hundreds of millions of Indians will experience the Internet for the first time on a smartphone in the next few years,“ he added.

CULTURAL DIFFERENCES

There are cultural differences between Bangalore and the Silicon Valley , but Soni feels that never stopped people in search of a rich career moving to China in the past few decades. India’s poor infrastructure becomes a problem at times. But it’s changing fast. “I think it would have been much more difficult if I were to move here a few years ago,“ said Mani.

Wadhwa draws the big picture: “India will see a technology boom over the next 5 years that will make the US dotcom boom look lame.There will be dozens of billion-dollar companies emerging from India’s ecosystem which will transform business, industry and society.“

Gaurav Gupta, who spent over a decade in the Valley working with Cisco and Symantec apart from several startups in the Bay Area, joined ecommerce company Snapdeal on Wednesday.

“Most of us always have an eye on the motherland; this time it’s fascinating to see India emerge as a producer of technology, not just a consumer,“ said Gupta.

“History is witness to the savviest, smartest and most entrepreneurial people usually going off to crazy places at regular intervals. This is relatively reasonable,“ said Soni of Flipkart.

Namita Gupta, a mother of two who headed Facebook’s Global Games Partner Engineering in the Bay Area until last year, joined Zomato as chief product officer.

Source: The Economic Times

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Author:

Neeraj; an entrepreneur & a visionary in the field of Railway, Defense & Automobiles, is a graduate in commerce and a Harvard Business School Alumni. He’s an expert in govt. liasoning & contracting and has an exceptional network & connections at both local as well as global level. He’s an expert in Market Strategy & Planning and has served number of overseas companies as an advisor/consultant. He takes a profound interest in upcoming startups & is very receptive towards ground-breaking ideas & innovations. He likes to brainstorm those ideas and if the values & philosophies matches; he is even ready to invest his resources, serve as a mentor or act as an incubator to futuristic businesses.

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