Shailendra J Singh, Managing Director at Sequoia Capital, announced the appointment of three senior leaders to the Sequoia Capital India team. Gayatri Vasudeva Yadav has joined as CMO, Ajey Gore as Operating Partner, Technology and Shweta Rajpal Kohli as Head of Public Policy.
Yadav joins Sequoia as Chief Marketing Officer from Star India, where she led Marketing and also served as President, Consumer Strategy & Innovation. She will be based in Bangalore.
During her time at Star, she led a series of high impact marketing moves, including the network’s launch of Star Sports, Hotstar and the "Nayi Soch" brand plan on Star Plus, which aimed to drive women’s empowerment. She started her career in Procter & Gamble in Brand Management and later joined General Mills India where, as Chief Marketing Officer, she was responsible for launching the Pillsbury brand and for creating multiple categories in the then nascent packaged foods market.
In addition to her role as CMO for Sequoia Capital India, Yadav will also work closely with Sequoia’s portfolio CMOs to help them launch and grow brands.
On her joining, Yadav said, “I am honoured to join Sequoia Capital India and help daring founders build legendary companies and brands. This is a seminal point of time in the development of Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem and there is a massive opportunity to create global brands out of the region. I am excited to join this amazing team and partner with an incredibly talented set of founders in achieving this mission.”
Singh said, “We constantly challenge founders to recruit moonshot leaders who can help them raise their game and be a source of learning and inspiration for their teams. We’re doing the same at Sequoia Capital India. At a time when technology is transforming the world and capital is abundant, the one thing that stands out for the very best startups or VC firms is the ability to attract and nurture extraordinary talent. The most promising startups have choices of which VC to pick. We believe the very discerning and highest quality founders will increasingly select venture capital firms with the best operating team who can help them succeed.
At Sequoia Capital India, we have assembled a team of world-class specialists over the years to help founders execute their plans. Our team of experts cut across major functional areas, including talent, technology, marketing, legal, finance and strategic development. Our specialist teams also actively nurture a community of professionals inside our startups in their functional areas, and form deep working relationships, often to the surprise of many founders. These communities are the lifeblood of how we attract and nurture talent across portfolio companies.
To give a boost to our efforts across several important areas, we’re excited to welcome these three widely respected senior executives to the Sequoia Capital India team in roles that will help us expand the work we do to build startups alongside our founders.”
Gore, who served most recently as the Group CTO of Gojek, joins Sequoia as Operating Partner, Technology, based in Singapore.
Gore, one of the most respected CTOs in Asia, is famously a commerce graduate and self-taught engineer. His transformational role at Gojek is widely known, but more importantly, his principles and philosophies for leading engineering and product teams are much admired. Gore founded CodeIgnition, which was acquired by Gojek, and prior to that served as CTO for hoppr (which was acquired by Hike Messenger) and Head of Technology for ThoughtWorks.
Gore will work closely with Sequoia’s portfolio CTOs and CPOs by providing insight and expertise in building and scaling engineering, data science, product and design functions, and helping our CTOs build and mentor high-performing teams. Gore will help Sequoia expand on the terrific contributions in this area by our current Director of Technology, Anandamoy 'Roy' Roychowdhary, who has led this function for Sequoia India for the last seven years. Roy has transitioned into a full-time investment advisory role as a Principal with the Surge team, focused on SaaS, AI, dev tools and infrastructure investments.
In addition, we are creating a new role focused on public policy. Technology has become so mainstream and the impact on society so significant, that regulators around the world have stepped up their dialogue and collaboration with technology startups to help create an enabling environment. The Indian government has been particularly progressive with both pioneering innovations like Aadhar and UPI, as well as proactive encouragement and enablement for startups through Startup India’s initiatives and institutions like NITI Aayog.
Rajpal joins Sequoia as Head of Public Policy, based in New Delhi. Prior to this, she was with Salesforce, where she was the Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for India & South Asia; earlier in her career, she was the Head of Public Policy for Uber for India & South Asia. Rajpal is one of the most highly experienced and well-regarded public policy experts for technology in this region.
Rajpal will work with industry bodies and associations, and will facilitate dialogue and collaboration between our startups and governments in India and SEA to enable progressive policy frameworks to strengthen our startup ecosystem. She will also advise Sequoia’s portfolio companies on public policy and regulatory topics.