Snap has hired its first employee in India as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to the region. Durgesh Kaushik will lead local market development activities including strategic partnerships, community development and overall ecosystem initiatives that support growth.
Durgesh will initially split time between Mumbai and Bengaluru. Prior to joining Snap, Durgesh worked in leadership roles at several Indian startups, most recently as CEO and co-founder of Wishfie. He also spent over three years at Facebook in marketing roles in APAC and EMEA, and worked at Jio selected through their young leadership program.
The announcement builds on recent initiatives to create an engaging and locally relevant experience for Indian Snapchatters.
The company added more than 10 local content partners to Discover at the end of 2018, rapidly grew official accounts, and introduced support for Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi in March with southern Indian and other major languages to follow soon.
Snap has also partnered with local sport and entertainment entities including several Indian Premier League teams as well as production houses Red Chillis Entertainment and Excel Entertainment for the movies Zero and Gully Boy. It is supporting the work of the Electoral Commission of India to encourage civic participation and engagement at the Lok Sabha elections. Snap has also started a college program with 25 reps in 20 leading institutions in Bengaluru and Mumbai, and plans to expand to other colleges in major cities.
Nana Murugesan, Managing Director of International Markets said, “We are delighted to welcome Durgesh on board as our Employee #1 based in market at such an exciting time for our business in India. We are encouraged by the product-market fit, strong momentum in recent months and the announcement this week that we have completed 100% roll out of our new app for Android will be an important lever for accelerating user growth in a market where it powers more than 90% of smartphones.”
Durgesh Kaushik, Head of India Market Development said, “I see an enormous opportunity for Snapchat in India where people are embracing the opportunity to communicate quickly and easily with the people that matter to them without the pressure of likes and followers. Snapchat is already seeing solid growth locally and I’m excited to scale this over 2019 and beyond. A priority for me will be to continue the great work to date in developing and supporting local partnerships by extending their breadth and scope.”
Snapchat also hired McDonald’s VP of Marketing Kenny Mitchell to lead marketing efforts. Mitchell is the latest big-name hire for Snapchat, and will be reporting directly to CEO Evan Spiegel.