Chennai-based Inasra Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs hotel booking site Stayzilla, has appointed former Twitter executive Pankaj Gupta as chief product officer and president of technology.
In a blogpost, Gupta said that he will help Stayzilla build its technology platform. Accordingly, he is shifting from San Francisco to Bangalore.
“Stayzilla opportunity falls at the intersection of a rapidly growing market, a fine team and a massive growth ahead of it — the perfect fuel for a rocket ship in the making,” Gupta said in his blogpost.
Gupta has worked at San Francisco-based microblogging platform Twitter for five years, having last served as senior staff data scientist, and was entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the functions of search, relevance and content.
“He brings with him years of experience leading product and technology for a platform built around a huge community,” said Yogendra Vasupal, co-founder and CEO, Stayzilla.
An IIT Delhi and Stanford University computer science graduate, Gupta brings with him 21 years of experience in data and engineering in building consumer products based on deep technology and data in the areas of personalisation, user growth and engagement, search, recommendation and discovery products, distributed systems, all aspects of machine learning, graph infrastructure and algorithms.
Gupta had earlier founded Specialized Types, a technical advisory group for startups, that connects technology professionals with startup founders.
Founded in 2005 by Vasupal and Sachit Sanghi, Stayzilla provides customers stays in lodges, homestays and guesthouses, with a choice of ultra-low budget rooms as well as luxury stays. Currently, Stayzilla claims to have more than 55,000 stay options spread across more than 4,000 cities and towns in India. Stayzilla also offers special selective community feature on its mobile app that matches hosts and guests by their preferences and shared interests. Unlike popular online travel agencies (OTAs) such as MakeMyTrip which offer both ticket booking and hotel reservation, Stayzilla focuses solely on room bookings.
In February 2015, Stayzilla raised $15 million in Series B round of funding led by venture capital firm Nexus Venture Partners, with participation from existing investor Matrix Partners India. The company had raised an undisclosed amount in its Series A round of funding from Matrix in October 2013. Before that, it had raised $0.5 million in seed funding from Indian Angel Network (IAN) in 2012.
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