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A career-shift into a new sector is intimidating but exciting: Rohithari Rajan, Zomato

09-August-2018
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A career-shift into a new sector is intimidating but exciting: Rohithari Rajan, Zomato

Online restaurant and search service, Zomato, recently appointed Rohithari Rajan as its Business Head, Global Ad Sales. In an exclusive interview with exchange4media, Rajan speaks about his vision and mission to upscale the online food-ordering platform’s purpose of ‘delivering better food to more people’.

An MBA graduate from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad, and economics graduate from Delhi University, Rajan was formerly leading Egon Zehnder’s Digital practice in the Asia Pacific region and consumer retail and media practice in India.

He was also part of the international consulting firm, Bain and Company, advising clients in areas of private equity, consumer products, telecom, and industrial goods in organisational and growth strategy, market strategy and business development. He worked for six years with Hindustan Unilever, where he was instrumental in establishing the Shakti business initiative, which extended Unilever’s rural India reach.

Talking about his plans ahead for Zomato, Rajan says, “We help consumers discover great new places to eat, have food conveniently delivered to their doorsteps, and share their experiences. Even as we do this, we help restaurants connect and engage with more consumers, leveraging technology and our expertise to grow their business. Food safety and hygiene is, and always will be of primary concern to us. I’m delighted to be a part of Zomato and look forward to working with this team.”

Zomato is a perfect example of how food meets technology in today’s digital era. Given his many years of experience, Rajan spoke about how smooth this transition to tech industry would be for him. “A career-shift into a new sector is always a little intimidating, a bit risky therefore very exciting. All of those aspects go up exponentially with a move to a place as fast-paced as Zomato and the sector we operate in. Thankfully, I have a bunch of exceptionally talented and capable colleagues on hand to help me. Additionally, I've had the privilege of working for some of the world's most respected companies in three very diverse sectors, which equips me to take on bigger challenges,” he said.
  The online food-ordering app has actively been experimenting with products that solve for affordability, accessibility, assortment, and quality of food for users, within India, as well as globally. The company recently turned 10 years old and reaffirmed its commitment to India by expanding operations to 25 new cities making it to a total of 63. With Zomato’s aggressive expansion plans across India, Rajan spoke of ramping up his team and operations to be able to drive ad revenues. “We are constantly on the lookout for exceptionally driven, capable individuals who identify with our mission and want to make a difference. Getting such people on-board is never easy, but we've been fortunate in attracting very high calibre individuals who have built a high-energy, results-obsessed culture, that in turn now attracts even more talented people.”

Narrating his journey with former colleague from Bain and his current thoughts on working again with Deepinder Goyal, Founder & CEO of Zomato, Rajan said, “Deepi is an inspiring entrepreneur, whose vision and desire for meaningful impact are matched by how down to earth and humble he remains. It has been an incredible journey, and it's only just begun! I am delighted to have had an opportunity to work with him again and look forward to learning from him.”

Rajan has a long established-history of working for rural-India and developing fresh business initiatives to empower poverty stricken areas. As a rural business specialist, he worked with the UNDP in New York, developing a toolkit for pro-poor business development goods in low-income regions to fight poverty. He also authored a short novel based on rural India named ‘I.I.M-Ganjdundwara’ which is a fictionalised narration of how an MNC devised a unique rural initiative. Talking to us about his inspiration behind the book Rajan said, “It was Unilever's Project Shakti, a unique go-to-market innovation in rural India that led me to pen down my thoughts in the form of this book. I had the privilege of being a member of the team that set up and scaled this business, and that experience influenced the book.”

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