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Hiring startup Belong.co ropes in former Groupon top exec

Bharath Devanathan, chief customer officer, Belong.co

Bharath Devanathan, chief customer
officer, Belong.co

NASDAQ-listed deals aggregator Groupon Inc’s chief operating officer Bharath Devanathan has joined Bangalore-based recruitment solutions startup Belong.co as chief customer officer, his LinkedIn profile shows.

Devanathan joined Groupon India as vice president in April 2011 and in August he was appointed as chief operating officer. Later in 2013, he was made COO of Groupon Inc’s APAC emerging markets region. He has also previously worked at Yahoo! And Booz & Company.

An engineer and management graduate from INSEAD, Devanathan has invested in early-stage technology startups, including Belong.co, online marketplace for refurbished products Overcart and phone credit recharge platform Sepulsa.com.

Owned and operated by Belong Technologies India Pvt. Ltd, Belong.co raised $10 million (Rs 67 crore) in Series B funding round led by Sequoia Capital India on Tuesday. Existing investor Matrix Partners also participated in the round.

In June 2015, it had raised $5 million in Series A round from Matrix Partners along with Snapdeal co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal.

Founded in 2014 by BITS Pilani alumni Vijay Sharma and Sudheendra Chilappagari, Belong assists enterprises to hire people by using data science and predictive analytics. Its search and recommendation technology analyses profiles across social, Internet and public sources to help companies discover potential candidates who best fit their culture and skill requirements. The technology also provides verified insights into whether the candidates are passively open to new opportunities. The solution also helps companies kick-start engagement with candidates through personalised interactions, backed by social insights.

Its customers include Cisco, Amazon, Tesco, Reliance Jio and ThoughtWorks. The company’s other investors include seed-stage VC fund Blume Ventures, redBus co-founder Phanindra Sama and Raju Reddy.

Groupon Inc had ceded majority stake in its India unit to venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and the top management of Groupon India in a management buy-out in 2015. The firm was subsequently rebranded as Nearbuy.

Groupon Inc recently saw some of its executives move on to other companies.

Fashion marketplace Voonik appointed ex-Groupon executive Himmat Singh Padode as its chief data scientist in January this year. Padode was previously leading the data team at Groupon from its Silicon Valley headquarters.

E-commerce marketplace Snapdeal appointed former Groupon executive Pradeep Desai as its senior vice-president (engineering) in October last year. Prior to his appointment at Snapdeal, Desai spent nearly three years at Groupon as a vice president where he led the product and engineering functions.

In September last year, Nearbuy had raised venture debt of Rs 15 crore (about $2.25 million) from non-banking financial company BlackSoil Capital Pvt. Ltd.