Hopscotch strengthens top deck with ex-Google, hires

hopscotchHit The Mark Inc., which runs Mumbai-based curated baby and kids products flash sales site, has made several top-level appointments after increasing staff strength four times to 300 in a year.

The company has hired Shyam Seshadri as head of engineering, Nathan Stanton as head of design, Rachel Steinberg as senior product manager and RV Krishna as senior product designer.

Seshadri, an alumnus of the Indian School of Business and founder of web solutions provider startup Fundoo Solutions, worked with Google and Credit Suisse in the past. New York University graduate Stanton was associated with Minibar Delivery, Codecademy and Quidsi in the past.

Harvard Business School and Princeton University graduate Steinberg had co-founded two startups - digital media firm Explain and audio sharing platform YapZap – and worked with prior to joining Hopscotch. Krishna worked as a creative designer with TinyOwl and Dentsu previously. He also had co-founded and run an advertising and design company named Hypnotic Bulb Advertising for five years.

The company had recently appointed Nupur Relekar as art director and Sanjay Jain as mobile lead. Relekar was previously the creative head at The Home Label and Jain previously worked as the Android lead at TinyOwl.

"We are three times stronger with our new hires in technology, design and product. Already, we are seeing 75 per cent of our revenue come from mobile devices," said Rahul Anand, founder and CEO of Hopscotch.

Hopscotch is a discovery-based e-commerce portal for moms offering a range of curated children's merchandise. The company was founded by Harvard alumni Anand and Lisa Kennedy in October 2012.

It offers baby and kids' products, including apparel, shoes, toys and books, and maternity products. The firm claims that, unlike traditional online stores, it introduces new limited-time boutiques every day. What this means is that each brand's collection (a boutique) is open and available for only a fixed period of time—from a few hours to four-five days.

It had raised $11 million in its Series B round of funding led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin's VC fund Velos Partners in January 2015. Hopscotch had earlier raised $2 million from LionRock Capital, Nisaba Godrej and Skype co-founder Annus. It also had acquired online school supplies retailer SkoolShop.

The company competes with two significant VC-backed ventures - FirstCry and Babyoye.

Firstcry recently raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Tata Sons' chairman emeritus Ratan Tata. This adds to the $10 million it raised in Series D round of funding from NEA and existing investor Valiant Capital Partners in April and $26 million in February last year.

BabyOye had failed to raise fresh funding and was acquired by Mahindra Group, which runs offline baby products retail chain Mom & Me and is now using BabyOye as its online sales channel.

All these firms compete with horizontal e-tailers such as Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, which also sell baby products.

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