Limited resources make us focus on doing fewer things better: Nishant Rao

Written by Anand J | Updated: Aug 8 2014, 06:20am hrs
Outside of the US, LinkedIn the worlds largest professional network with over 30 crore users has its biggest operations in India, with 350 people on its rolls. The company, which generates 43% of its traffic on mobile platforms, gets more than 18.7 crore unique users every month. India has 2.6 crore members, the second-largest after the US, which has 10 crore. LinkedIn Indias country manager, Nishant Rao, talks to Anand J regarding the company's plans for the country, customisation initiatives and the challenge of generating cash here. Excerpts

Tell us about your India operations.

India is the only country where LinkedIn has invested beyond sales and where all its operations have a representation. We operate in three cities Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bangalore and have engineering and product groups. We run a global site out of India where we build global products.

Have Indian companies started using talent solutions in hiring

Tech and finance were early adopters, but we have seen a change happen across industries. We have seen diversification in terms of cities and mid-size companies, and SMBs have also started using LinkedIn. Now smaller companies can build their brand and target the audience. We are a young country and people are not just looking at the financial aspect, but at inspiring jobs. From large companies to small and across industries, like Taxi for Sure, Next Technologies and HCL Technologies, LinkedIn is used extensively for hiring now.

Tell us about your customisation initiatives in India. Are Indian languages on the cards

We are always evaluating to create a more relevant experience. Global innovation helps all of us. We have local influencers and are straddling the right balance between the global and the local.

As a company with fewer resources, we tend to focus on doing fewer things better. For instance, we are evaluating whether a rich media profile or a profile in an Indian language is a better investment. In India, English is the language of business. Indian languages will accelerate and are not off the table by any means,

but we want to give a wholesome experience first.

Globally, other than Facebook, social media firms are stagnating.

We continue to grow in terms of user profiles, company profiles and customers. Our mobile usage is going through the roof. We are doing a lot of innovation and page views have gone up on an annual basis. All the social media companies are innovating and solving relevant problems in a particular audience segment, and we are focussed on professionals.

The use case might not be as sexy or fun as other social media, but is incredibly important as we make our members more productive. The loss we made during the recent quarter was due to investments in China as well as the acquisitions we have made.

LinkedIn is both a B2C and B2B company. How challenging is that

There are different teams to handle the two segments; we keep them separate. On the consumer side, they just want to make LinkedIn more productive for users and are not worried about making money. On the enterprise side, companies can explore business development, hiring, research and insights gained through data analysis. They can focus on quality instead of going through 10,000 resumes. In marketing, too, they can tailor the message for those they want to talk to.

What is the revenue break-up from India

It roughly follows the global model, where 60% comes from talent solutions and the rest from marketing solutions and premium subscriptions. In India, we are not focusing on premium subscriptions as we want consumers to understand the value. We dont follow the premium model where I tease you with a couple of things and then make you pay.

Our free site is as powerful and is designed to solve a specific use case, like for a job seeker to reach a potential employer. Our membership has grown by 500% in three years and is the fastest growing among big markets. There is six times more content than jobs and people are coming there to learn.