Anupam Pahuja is a global executive with multi-cultural and cross-continent experience in Technology, Consulting, and Entrepreneurship. He has incubated and sold businesses, managed large-scale multinational enterprises, and serves as Board member for several companies. At PayPal, Anupam manages over 2,000 R&D engineers at its centers in Chennai and Bangalore, from where emanates nearly 55% of all product development work for the company. Anupam has been instrumental in making PayPal one of the best places to work in India, 4 years in a row, according to surveys conducted by the Great Places to Work Institute and The Economic Times. Prior to PayPal, Anupam was the India Managing Director for the NASDAQ listed SumTotal Systems, the largest eLearning company in the world. In this role Anupam managed the company’s global product development and led sales, marketing, and professional services for the APAC region.
In 2010 Anupam helped take the company private with a sale to a private equity firm at almost 2x trading price. Anupam has been the founder of two startups. First one was MobiApps Inc, a mobile focused company he founded in 2000 out of Bangalore and Washington DC where he was the COO. The company raised over $30M in equity from key VCs around the world and sold the company in 2006. He then founded SeaKey, which failed in 2008. Anupam has also held various senior positions at Accenture and Georgetown University. Anupam serves on several company and non-profit organization boards. He was recently appointed by the US counsel general to serve as the vice-chair of the American International School in Chennai. Anupam holds an undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania with Magna Cum Laude and an MBA in International Business from Georgetown University.
Q: What must the Indian IT-BPM industry do to help India emerge as an innovation hub offering the world out-of-the-box products and services?
A: First, the IT-BPM industry must believe in itself. It must believe that development and delivery out of India, and not just supporting global counterparts, is possible. Second, the industry needs to build more and more product companies and focus on incentivizing product development from India. It has to go beyond just service delivery. Third, the sector must create a work environment that is open and creative and allows people to be innovative. I also truly believe that companies must give utmost importance to extracting suggestions from their people, addressing the concerns of their employees and encouraging their involvement in the decision-making process. Creating a bold and fearless approach to ideation is the key to becoming an innovative company.
Q: How can an environment and eco-system of ‘innovation’ and entrepreneurship be created? How can companies like PayPal contribute to and catalyze this process?
A:PayPal leaves no stone unturned when it comes to developing top-quality code. We blend learning into every little thing we do. From organizing internal hackathons to hosting training workshops and webinars, we encourage our technologists to come together as a cohesive unit and execute to perfection. We continuously improve product experiences that change the way people interact with their money. We’re committed to making sure our 152 million active global users know that we’re listening and innovating daily on their behalf.
Constant innovation helps us to compete globally and be the best in the world. In India, we have launched ‘Start Tank’, our own incubator to nurture world-class innovative ideas from local start-up companies. PayPal has a rich history steeped in strong values and commitment to the community. It is our social responsibility to encourage the growth of tech start-ups by fostering a culture of innovation and strengthening the entrepreneurship eco-system in India. Through our university research and partnership programs, we ensure that ideas are given a strong footing and learning is put to the best use. Likewise, through eBay Women in Technology (eWIT), we have created a diverse workplace that provides a platform for career development and networking, awareness and education, community outreach and professional affiliations for all our women employees.
Q: What can the government do to encourage the growth of software product start-ups? What is the help it can provide smaller companies so that they can win the world with their big ideas?
“PayPal has made transactions across borders a reality for those who cannot do business otherwise”
A:The government’s decision to set aside money to support the growth of start-ups is great new for new companies. Now it must ensure that the allocated funds are decentralized so that every company, which is set up with path-breaking ideas, is benefited. Experts from the industry must sought out to understand the trends shaping the IT industry and help product start-ups grow in this scenario. Further, the young talent pool from universities must be groomed through workshops, conferences, etc. and the ideas of students nurtured.. Partnerships with organizations such as NASSCOM must also be leveraged to help these small companies with big ideas to get started.
Q: How would you say PayPal has revolutionized the way people think about and use money?
A: PayPal has been in the payments business for more than 15 years and we have a tremendous understanding of what people want and get from their money. Our goal is to deepen the understanding and broaden the awareness of PayPal and its role in powering what we call the “People Economy.”
PayPal is breaking down barriers that prevent people from getting what they want from their money. We have, therefore, taken a people-first approach as they have always been a priority for us. But the payment industry is changing and putting human choice more solidly at its center. Consumers no longer rely on just cash or credit cards but want to make and receive payments using their mobile phones. Innovation has increased choice and put more power in the hands of the people--something we are very much a part of.
Q: What are some of your learnings that you feel you can share with India’s emerging companies?
A: Needless to say, the first few years for any company are the most challenging and the belief with which it has instituted itself must remain intact. Companies must have a ’can do’ attitude at all times and not be afraid of taking risks. Ultimately, their focus needs to be on ‘quality’ and not ‘cost,’ because that’s how enduring companies are built.
Q: How How is PayPal helping increase the opportunities for global commerce?
A: Technology is breaking down barriers to global commerce. Users around the world are transacting online using their credit or debit cards on the websites of unknown sellers operating in distant countries. They are doing this successfully, without exposing their financial information at any stage. That’s the kind of network PayPal has created over the years.
PayPal makes life better for over 152 million people across 203 markets, processing 9.3 million payments every day (Q2 2014). We enable people to get access to the goods and services they can’t find at home and buy things from almost anywhere in the world. For example, an artisan in a remote village in Rajasthan can now sell to any corner of the world using PayPal. We have made transactions across borders a reality for those who cannot do business otherwise.
Q: PayPal has recently changed its brand identity. What does it reflect about the organization?
We have updated our brand identity to exemplify simplicity, convenience and security in this new omni-channel world, as we continue to create ways that are easier, simpler and safer for people to use their money. Today, people want solutions that are more human, more seamless and more meaningful. They want a world that puts people first, not institutions. They want a people economy. And that’s exactly what PayPal is helping to power. Through our innovation, we’re making it easier for people to buy, to sell, to collaborate and create.