Startups

Coinbase India plan: Acquire startups, hire ‘hundreds’ of employees in 2 yrs, says incoming country head

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Pankaj Gupta will join Coinbase on April 29 and will continue to be based in Bengaluru. (Image: Reuters)

Days after its successful direct listing on Nasdaq, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase on Wednesday stepped up its efforts towards building its technology hub in India. The outgoing Google Pay’s engineering lead for India and APAC Pankaj Gupta announced plans to acquire startups and hire ‘hundreds’ of employees apart from announcing his appointment as head of Coinbase India development centre. “I’ll be responsible for leading and building the company’s technology hub in India from scratch…  Specifically, the plan is to hire hundreds of employees across all levels in engineering, product management, UX design, research, and program management within the next 1–2 years to build out a full tech hub in India,” Gupta said in a blog on medium.com.

The new hire in months to come along with Gupta will work on challenges spanning a full modern tech stack that would include “deep tech areas like blockchains, data engineering, infrastructure, machine learning, and more,” he said. And to back up this plan, Gupta said the company will also “explore startup acquisitions and acquihires.” Acquihire is the acquisition of a company primarily for the skills and expertise of its employees instead of the product and size of the firm. Gupta had joined Google following the acquisition of his very young deep learning startup Halli Labs back in July 2017 by the search giant. Gupta will leave Google at the end of April and will join Coinbase on April 29. He will continue to be based in Bengaluru.

“The crypto ecosystem in India is definitely getting its due with the Coinbase announcement. Indians have a lot to contribute to this ecosystem as in a positive influence. The startup ecosystem in the country will have a positive impetus. The sector will have good vibes and will attract positive attention from both talents and entrepreneurs. It’s definitely a reinforcement of the belief that we hold over this space,” Ashish Mehta, Co-founder of India’s first B2B crypto trading exchange DigitX told Financial Express Online.

Also read: Crypto exchange Bitex begins providing cryptocurrency investment disclosure following govt mandate

In an internal note to the company, Coinbase EVP of Engineering Manish Gupta, announcing the development said, “Pankaj is responsible for building out our team across India. Reporting to me, he starts on April 29th. This announcement is significant because we can now tap into the incredible engineering talent across India. Under Pankaj’s leadership, we plan to aggressively invest in building a technology team in India…Pankaj resides in Bangalore, and we intend to leverage our remote-first strategy and hire top talent from across the country.” The note was shared with Financial Express Online.

With around 56 million verified users, Coinbase is setting up its physical office initially in Hyderabad as it prepares to establish its business presence in India amid the regulatory uncertainty surrounding Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The company will be “housing some IT services, including engineering, software development, and customer support operations in India” and will “benefit from its huge pool of world-class engineering talent,” the company had announced recently.

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