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Flipkart Nabs Another Google Mobile Exec to Out-Amazon Amazon In India

The move marks the third time Flipkart has poached a marquee Googler this year.

Uriel Sinai | Getty Images

Flipkart, the well-funded Indian e-commerce startup, wants to sell many things on many mobile devices. So it has hired a veteran mobile engineer from Google to help.

Surojit Chatterjee, the lead product manager for mobile search ads at Google, has joined Flipkart as SVP and head of consumer experience and growth, a newly created position. He will move to the company’s Indian headquarters and oversee consumer experience for desktop and mobile. The company announced the news on Tuesday.

Chatterjee joins a pair of other long-time Googlers who decamped earlier this year. His new boss, Punit Soni, a former VP at the Motorola business under Google, was hired as Flipkart’s chief product officer; the startup then added Peeyush Ranjan, who ran engineering for Google’s Android One program, as its engineering VP.

Chatterjee began with Google in 2007 in its Asia-Pacific region, working on payments, then mobile products in his native India before coming to Mountain View to work on mobile ads. He was part of the founding product team for Google’s mobile search ads and helped launch the AdSense product for online retailers. In his latest role, he spent a fair amount of time wrangling e-commerce companies to invest on mobile — both in product resources and ad spending.

Like many tech-savvy Indians, he grew impressed with Flipkart’s service during his trips to the country. And he described its potential in lofty terms.

Surojit Chatterjee, SVP, Flipkart
Surojit Chatterjee, SVP, Flipkart

“Flipkart is not just trying to build the biggest e-commerce company in India,” he told Re/code. “They’re actually trying to build a revolutionary company that will change Indian society.”

In India, an exploding e-commerce market, Flipkart is arguably the best-known e-commerce brand. However, the startup is facing heated competition from local rival Snapdeal as well as Amazon, which is investing heavily in India. Flipkart’s focus has been on mobile commerce — it expects upward of 80 percent of transactions to come from mobile devices. That focus has put it at odds with Google: Earlier this year, Flipkart starting pushing mobile Web visitors to download its app, a move that would dent Google’s mobile ad dollars.

Chatterjee, however, downplayed the tension, suggesting that the distinction between mobile sites and apps is dissipating. “Eventually, you’ll see them get closer to each other,” he said.

In July, Flipkart raised another $1 billion in funding, in a round led by Tiger Global and Naspers, putting its valuation north of $15 billion.

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