Stayzilla Appoints Former Twitter Director Pankaj Gupta

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 10, 2016

pankaj gupta

Stayzilla appointed former Twitter director Pankaj Gupta as Chief Product Officer and President of Technology, as the startup looks to double the listings on its platform to over 1 lakh in the next one year by building a community around homestays and alternative stays.

Gupta, a Stanford PhD in computer science who was one of the first 30 employees of Twitter, will move to work in the Bengaluru office of Stayzilla in the coming weeks. 

Gupta will help Stayzilla in building a technology platform and product around the community at Stayzilla, which is backed by venture capital firms such as Matrix Partners India and Nexus Venture Partners.

“Pankaj brings with him years of experience in 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,” said Yogendra Vasupal, co-founder and CEO, Stayzilla as reported by TOI.

Stayzilla has been increasing focus on home and alternative stays, which now contributes to over 40 per cent of the bookings compared to 6 per cent last September. Vasupal said that soon this will become majority of the business. 

The platform is trying to match guests with hosts based on interests such as vocation, music and leisure activities. That’s where Gupta is expected to help Stayzilla build a community.

Before Twitter, Gupta had founded two startups, including vertical Indian music search engine Phulki which was acquired by music streaming service Saavn. 

The move to hire Gupta by Stayzilla underlines that hiring top technology talent from Silicon Valley continues to be in vogue for Indian startups. 

But Vasupal, who had multiple and detailed interviews with 10 candidates before finalizing Gupta, asserted that hiring from overseas for specific roles is a necessity. “There are a very limited number of companies which have built a platform around communities, and we have been searching for candidates for the last one year, but finally had to look outside,” said Vasupal.