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Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Indian Startups Looking For Senior Talent? Executives Have Raised Objections To The Cultural Misfit Felt At Startups

By Aashika Jain

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Marking the second biggest hire by a startup this year is Paytm bringing on board Goldman Sachs' veteran Mark Schwartz.This induction is expected to break the jinx of exits by top-level executives from Indian startups and shows shoots of revival in the hiring space for startups.

Some of last year's most-reputed entrants to the top Indian startups have been witnessed as making a beeline to the exit door shaken by fears of drop in valuations and fast burning cash.Paytm has hired Goldman Sach's Vice Chairman, who was instrumental in shaping Alibaba Group's $25-billion IPO in 2014, at a time when the company is aiming to launch its payment bank operations.

The Indian e-commerce website also roped in Amit Singhal, former head of Google Search, as additional director earlier this month.Kris Lakshmikanth the Managing Director of executive talent search company The Head Hunters says Paytm's hires are solely because of the company being backed by Alibaba.

Lakshmikanth, who does not consider Paytm a startup also says people are in fact scared of joining startups but this could be otherwise in case companies offer a piece of them."Promoters are not looking for valuations, they now understand that it is important to move to the online space," Lakshmikanth told Entrepreneur.

Online women fashion store Voonik, which engulfed three startups in June this year, in August said it was hiring former Amazon India veteran Raghu Lakkapragada as its chief operating officer. Another senior appointment by Voonik was of Myntra finance head Prabhakar Sunder as the company chief financial officer in July.

Why The Exodus

Executives have raised objections to the cultural misfit felt at startups along with lack of opportunities and discipline at work.This has triggered many top level executives to move to traditional companies, which have an established system of work.

Top Level Exits Raised Alarm

This year, senior managers left big portfolios at India's biggest startups including e-commerce company Flipkart, taxi app firm Ola and restaurant search and food delivery service provider Zomato, raising doubts over sustainability of experienced talent in India's aggressive startups workplace. Some of the biggest exits include that of Mukesh Bansal, head of commerce at Flipkart and Myntra's Chairman, from Flipkart in February, Manish Dugar of InMobi in May and Amit Das of Housing.com.

The first among key exits in 2015 were Flipkart's head of strategic initiatives Ravi Vora, Ola's Vice-President for engineering Swaminathan Seetharaman , and Alok Jain, Tanmay Saksena and Namita Gupta of Zomato.

Aashika Jain

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Associate Editor, Entrepreneur India

Journalist in the making since 2006! My fastest fingers have worked for India's business news channel CNBC-TV18, global news wire Thomson Reuters, the digital arm of India’s biggest newspaper The Economic Times and Entrepreneur India as the Digital Head. 
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