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Google India's Rajan Anandan quits search giant to join Sequoia Capital

Google India's Rajan Anandan quits search giant to join Sequoia Capital
2 Apr, 2019
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Google's South East Asia and India vice-president Rajan Anandan will leave the technology giant at the end of this month to join venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India as a managing director.

"We are grateful to Rajan for his huge contribution to Google over the past eight years," Scott Beaumont, president of Google Asia Pacific, said in a statement. “His entrepreneurial zeal and leadership has helped grow the overall internet ecosystem in India and Southeast Asia, and we wish him all the best in his new adventures.”

Vikas Agnihotri, country director-sales, will replace Anandan as Google’s point person for India in the interim, Beaumont added.

Sequoia Capital managing director Shailendra Singh said in a separate statement that Anandan, one of the most prolific angel investors in India, will devote his attention to the firm's recently-launched accelerator programme.

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"He will join the leadership team at the firm, in addition to the six current Managing Directors, where he will focus on developing Surge into the world’s top scale-up programme for startups by acting as an investment advisor and mentor to the program’s founders," said Singh.

Sequoia Capital, which has invested in more than 130 startups in India including unicorns such as Ola, MuSigma and Zomato, had earlier this year announced that Surge would recruit 10 to 20 early-stage startups in two cohorts in a year and invest $1.5 million (Rs 10.6 crore) in each of them at an early stage of the programme.

Anandan, 50, has invested in more than 70 companies including Druva, Capillary Technologies, WebEngage, DataWeave, Instamojo and Frrole.

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A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a postgraduate in engineering from Stanford University, Anandan started his career with consultancy firm McKinsey & Co. He worked there for a decade and rose through the ranks to become a partner. Anandan then worked closely with Dell founder Michael Dell as his executive assistant before taking up other roles.

A Sri Lankan Tamil, Anandan has made India his home since being named Dell India managing director in 2006. He was Microsoft India MD before joining Google. Apart from India, he is also an active angel investor in Sri Lanka and has backed the island nation's first venture capital firm, BOV Capital.

Google legacy

Anandan joined Google in 2011 and was tasked with growing the search giant’s footprint in India and the South East Asia region by expanding the reach of its products and forming strategic alliances.

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A number of initiatives, products and services were launched during Anandan's tenure with a focus on bringing as many Indians onto the internet as possible and tackling everyday issues.

This included the launch of the Android One programme that aimed at offering cheap Android smartphones to Indian consumers. Under Anandan’s watch, Google also brought its smart assistant to feature phones.

Google also ran a pilot project to bring its Project Loon to India with the mission of enabling internet access in rural areas. In addition, a joint initiative with the Indian Railways to bring WiFi to train stations was started.

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Among the most recent announcements under Anandan’s reign was the launch of the Google Pay digital payments platform based on the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

The Indian unit’s revenue rose steadily during Anandan’s eight years at the helm. It recorded revenue of Rs 851.98 crore for the financial year before he took over. This number increased tenfold to Rs 9,263.10 crore in 2017-18 while net profits also grew at a healthy clip.