Rajan Anandan, South East Asia and India vice president at Google made a major career move by leaving the global tech giant to join venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India as a managing director. It doesn’t come as a major surprise as Anandan has always been supporting the tech startup community with generous funding, supporting them with the required funds and mentorship.
According to recent reports, Vikas Agnihotri, country director-sales will replace Anandan in the interim. Agnihotri joined Google in 2011 as the Director Auto, BFSI, CPG, Telecom, Travel, Media and Entertainment, and has worked in the likes of Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.
What Will Anandan’s New Role Be?
The role at Sequoia Capital will involve Anandan to work on establishing the firm’s recently-launched accelerator programme. He will join the six current managing directors to focus on developing Surge, the accelerator programme into world’s top scale-up programme for startups by acting as an investment advisor and mentor to the program’s founders.
The capital firm has invested in more than 130 startups in India in companies such as Ola, MuSigma and Zomato, and is looking to explore its venture and growth verticles. Company sources cite that in August last year, the firm closed its sixth India fund at $695 million to invest in the country and South East Asia.
Being deeply committed to supporting young startups, this comes as a perfect union between the two. “Knowing Rajan’s deep commitment to supporting young tech startups, this seems like a perfect union. Sequoia and entrepreneurs in their network will find immense value just as we do with his leadership at TiE Delhi-NCR. A great team leader, he leaves a rich legacy at Google. Truly a global leader energizing and adding value to every organisation that he is associated with,” Geetika Dayal, Executive Director, TiE Delhi-NCR, told AIM.
A mechanical engineer from MIT and postgraduate from Stanford University, he has worked with companies such as McKinsey & Co, Dell and Microsoft in the past. A Sri Lankan Tamilian, Anandan has made India his home since being named Dell India managing director in 2006.
8 amazing years. 850million internet users across India and SEA. Many billions of revenue and fastest growing region in the world. Incredible team that thinks big and executes superbly. Thank you @GoogleIndia #GoogleSEA. Loved every minute.
— Rajan Anandan (@RajanAnandan) April 2, 2019
Anandan’s AI Journey & Why Is It A Relevant Move
One of the most prolific angel investors in India, Anandan has invested in more than 70 companies including Druva, Capillary Technologies, WebEngage, DataWeave, Instamojo, Bottr, Maya, Frrole and others. Not just in India, he is also an active angel investor in Sri Lanka. He primarily invests in early-stage technology companies in sectors such as the internet, mobile and software.
A firm believer in the fact that startups play a crucial role in addressing challenges that India faces, he has been investing and mentoring startups since his early college days.
He has been a constant supporter of startups and works involving education, healthcare, agriculture, energy, water, sanitation and more, believing that entrepreneurs who can build solutions to tackle these challenges will truly be the next generation of businesses. Supporting startups such as Niramai, SigTuple, Nebulaa, he had said that these kinds of new ideas and businesses require new mindsets, new skills and a different kind of investor ecosystem.
He is a firm believer of developments in cutting edge technologies such as machine learning and AI, and that it can create successful, world-changing companies bringing new innovation model for the world.
Anandan Has Driven Key Government Initiatives Such As Rail WiFi
With a vision to make India a global hub of innovation, he spoke about everyone having access to the internet as long ago as in 2015. In 2016, Google partnered with Railtel to enable larger access of internet to users. It launched the first high-speed WiFi for public use at Mumbai’s CST railway station. The company has given access to WiFi across 400 railway stations in India.
Google also partnered with Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet Ltd (APSFNL) to give internet access to more than 12,000 villages and 10 million people.
Anandan has also invested in EasyGov, which was founded in 2015 with the vision of making citizen-centric governance a reality. It is a Software-as-a-Service startup that provides cloud services to improve efficiency, transparency and effectiveness in the delivery of Government welfare schemes and services.
He has also been instrumental in digital initiatives such as Tez, now Google Pay, which is extensively used today.
We're thrilled to welcome @RajanAnandan to the leadership team @sequoia_India as investment advisor & mentor to the @_surgeahead founders. Rajan's depth of experience & expertise will be invaluable in this journey!https://t.co/jgxC8uu8HP
— Sequoia_India (@Sequoia_India) April 2, 2019
Having played a crucial role in Google tech journey in India, he would now exclusively look into strengthening startup play in areas such as consumer internet, deep tech, enterprise software, healthcare technology, fintech, cryptocurrency and direct-to-consumer brands. As Surge aims to recruit 10 to 20 early-stage startups in two cohorts in a year and invest $1.5 million (₹10.6 crore) in each of them at an early stage of the programme, Anandan will have a key role to play here.
“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 South East Asia, and we wish him all the best in his new adventures.”