YellowBox Interviews Mr. Anupam Pahuja, GM & Head, PayPal India Development Centers.
PayPal India has repeatedly been featured in the list of “100 Best Companies to Work for in India.” How important do you think is work environment in stimulating a world-class work culture?
Work environment is of great importance for a company like PayPal. Providing employees with a world-class workplace that encourages innovation and collaboration is crucial to building a world-class organization that can compete in this rapidly changing world of technology. The PayPal India Development Centers are at the forefront of all the global initiatives within the organization.
At PayPal, our constant endeavor is to create a work environment that is open and transparent. We give utmost importance to ideas, suggestions and concerns of our employees and appreciate their involvement in the decision-making processes. A two-way communication strategy is an integral part of our system and there are multiple channels available for employees to voice their opinions and suggestions. We are always open, honest and direct in our approach.
If you were to single out one aspect of the work that you do at PayPal India that is unique among Indian companies, what would it be?
I think, it’s our innovative mindset. The India centers are PayPal’s largest software development centers in the world and are involved in the company’s technology and product development initiatives for our cutting-edge global payment platform. We live and breathe technology. We leave no stone unturned when it comes to developing top quality code. We blend learning into every little thing we do. From organizing internal hack-a-thons to training workshops and webinars, we encourage our technologists to come together as a cohesive unit.
I would say all this is possible because we possess the knack to think out-of-the-box, and the urge to innovate constantly. We continuously improve product experiences that change the way people interact with their money. We’re committed to making sure our 148 million active users know that we’re listening and innovating daily on their behalf.
Constant innovation globally helps us compete fiercely and be the best in the world.
How has PayPal development centers in India evolved over the years? How global are your operations here?
PayPal started out in India in the year 2008 as only a delivery center. There were almost no global roles of out India back then. However, three years ago, a Global Talent Strategy was devised as we felt the need to provide empowerment and ownership to our employees. We therefore built Centers of Excellence around the world, which work globally and not just for any particular region. All day-to-day activities such as settling, clearing, reporting, demand generation, and other post-transaction functions are driven out of these Centers of Excellence. These centers are not just involved in product development, but also in operations.
Most Indian companies prefer to use donation as a tool to fulfil their corporate social responsibility. However, you have chosen to be different and have set up an incubation center to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. Tell us more about your incubator program.
The PayPal Chennai Incubator – called “Start Tank” – was conceived to nurture world-class innovative ideas. PayPal comes with 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 ecosystem in India.
Start Tank currently has four start-up companies. We plan to expand it by selecting more start-ups from across industries and providing them with world-class infrastructure, coupled with technology mentorship by leveraging eBay Inc.’s global technology and product competency, as well as business mentorship by leveraging TiE and its seasoned entrepreneur pool.
There is currently a hot debate going on in the US regarding issue of patents for software and business methods. What is your take on this issue? Do you think copyright protection is sufficient for software?
The rules and rationale must be clearly articulated for companies to file patents for software and business methods. When technology corporations attempt building code to introduce software products into the market, they mostly rely on their workforce and technological expertise within the company.
In my opinion, it is also about helping the developer community at large. Filed patents could be released as open source to help fellow technologists grab the underlying ideas and innovate, to eventually build products that will help the world. This way, even people with original ideas hold their credit.
About Anupam Pahuja
Anupam Pahuja is the GM & Head of PayPal India Development Centers, and 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 and non-profit organizations.
At PayPal, Anupam manages over 2,000 engineers at its centers in Chennai and Bangalore, from where nearly 55% of all product development work for the company is emanated. Anupam has been instrumental in making PayPal one of the best places to work in India for four 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.
Anupam has been the founder of two start-ups. In 2000, he founded MobiApps Inc, a mobile focused company 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. In 2013, he was appointed by the U.S. 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.
At PayPal, we put people at the center of everything we do. Founded in 1998, we continue to be at the forefront of the digital payments revolution, giving people direct control over their money. Through our innovations, we make life better for our over 148 million active users in 26 currencies and across 203 markets, processing more than 9 million payments daily. An eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) company, PayPal is the faster, safer way to pay and get paid. The service gives people simpler ways to send money without sharing financial information, and with the flexibility to pay using their account balances, bank accounts or credit cards.
PayPal’s base in India comprises software development centers in Chennai and Bangalore with over 2,000 engineers and knowledge professionals supporting both the eBay Marketplaces and PayPal businesses globally. The India centers are one of PayPal’s key software development centers in the world and are involved in the company’s technology and product development initiatives to improve its global payment platform. The India centers consist of development and quality engineers, solution managers, user-experience professionals, web developers, and project managers as well as site operations, data management, and risk analytics staff.
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