A longtime Google veteran decides to join one of Amazon’s biggest competitors after a trip to India

Soni Punit
Punit Soni was Motorola’s VP of product management when Google owned the phone company Flipkart

Google product management exec Punit Soni is joining the Indian e-commerce company Flipkart as its chief product officer.

Soni worked at Google for the past eight years, helping develop products like Google News, Books, Google Plus — and, as the VP of product management at Motorola while Google owned it, three phones: the MotoX, Moto G, and Moto E.

Soni decided to join Flipkart after a trip to India — he felt the startup “stood out as the single biggest platform of change in the new internet economy,” he said in a Google Plus post.

In his new role, he’ll be spearheading Flipkart’s product strategy, design, and marketing, and moving to India for the position.

Flipkart currently has 33,000 employees and 10 million daily visits is one of Amazon’s biggest competitors in India. The company’s founders actually both worked at Amazon before ditching in 2007 to start their own new company with a very similar business model.

The startup took off and Flipkart is now India’s largest online marketplace in terms of sales.

Amazon, meanwhile, didn’t enter India until 2012 when it acquired price-comparison site Junglee. It opened its official India website in June 2014. The next month, Flipkart raised a mammoth $US1 billion funding round. Exactly one day later, Amazon said it planned to pour $US2 billion into its Indian operations.

In Amazon’s Q4 earnings call, CFO Tom Szkutak said the company was “very excited about India” and it will be one of its big focuses for international growth.

Here’s how Soni described his decision to go to Flipkart:

As I explored ideas across sectors and across different life stages of companies, I flew down to India to personally see the change spreading across the country at the intersection of a mobile revolution spearheaded by phones like Moto G, and hundreds of entrepreneurs reinventing every aspect of life out there. Flipkart stood out as the single biggest platform of change in the new internet economy.

The energy in Bangalore feels like the Valley and Flipkart with a footprint of millions is at the forefront. It is the opportunity to create the biggest impact and made sense after the amazing journey at Google.

My goal and mandate will be to help build the world’s best product company with a global ambition. Over time, we will build programs to attract the best talent to Bangalore and also establish a significant presence back home in the Valley. The overwhelming scope of the task feels like the right next step in my journey, and its success will depend on a lot of things including your support.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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