Hyderabadi makes it big in Silicon Valley5 years ago Chandra Mouli Koduri
Srikanth Nagandla, co-founder & CTO of Arktan, who has his roots in the city of Nawabs, had an early start to the festive season. On 16th December 2014, his five-year-old startup Arktan based out of Redwood City, California was acquired by Janrain, a Portland, Oregon based firm considered the leading provider of Customer Identity Management technology, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition brings together complementary product portfolios of both the firms thereby strengthening Janrain’s position in the social media space. Arktan had majority of its clients in the US and never made conscious attempt to cater to the Indian market. In 2014 Facebook partnered with Arktan for the on-air and digital graphics of the most watched cricket tournament of the year- Pepsi Indian Premier League. Some of the visuals used on-air can be seen below:
In a candid chat with Startup Hyderabad, Srikanth described his journey till date. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science engineering from University of Madras and did his masters in Computer Science at Universitat Bremen, Germany where he specialized in Human Computer Interaction. Prior to his masters he worked briefly with a leading IT MNC in India and post his masters, joined a startup as its first employee in Germany. Working closely with founders of the startup, Srikanth found the experience as a great learning opportunity in terms of software development and building a startup. A few years later, he received a job offer in the Bay Area. Srikanth always dreamt of starting up in Silicon Valley. This job offer brought him closer to his dream as he moved to this part of the world.
Few years later in 2008, Srikanth met his co-founder Rahul Agarwal, an established valley professional with Juniper Networks, at a meetup in Fremont, California. Srikanth recommends the startup meetups as they not only help learn new technologies and innovative ideas but also are good grounds to find a co-founder. Having observed the potential of social media, which was in its infancy back then, the duo decided to venture into this space. The first version of Arktan was very different from its current enterprise product. Originally, Arktan was a consumer website that allowed a user to see a unified feed of friends’ latest content from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc. The pivotal point according to Srikanth was when “we realized that brands have their own digital properties, both web and mobile, but do not have enough fresh real-time content on their own properties. However, fans were creating a lot of interesting content about brands on social networks. So, we focused on helping brands aggregate and curate interesting social posts to their digital properties. Over the years, Arktan evolved by addressing the needs of its customers to what it is today”. Srikanth and his team would now be part of Janrain’s Customer Engagement Business Unit.
Throughout his startup journey Srikanth has been mentoring several aspiring entrepreneurs on a regular basis in the Valley and back in India, and intends to give back to the startup communities that supported him during his startup life. He can be reached on twitter @sriray.
Janrain makes it easy to know your customers and personalize every interaction. Its Customer Identity Management Platform helps companies build a unified view of their customers across all devices by collecting accurate customer profile data to power personalized marketing. The platform encompasses social login, registration, customer profile data storage, customer insights, single sign-on, and user-generated content. Janrain powers customer identity management for brands like Universal Music Group, Pfizer, Samsung, Whole Foods, Fox News, Philips, Marvel, Mattel and Dr. Pepper. Founded in 2005, Janrain is based in Portland, Oregon, with offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Singapore, Bangkok and Redwood City, CA.
Arktan is a leading provider of innovative social curation and engagement products for major brands across a wide range of industries. The breadth and depth of Arktan products, robust platform, comprehensive APIs, enterprise-class dashboard, and innovative visualizations have made Arktan the industry-leading white-label SaaS social platform chosen by major brands for 24/7/365 deployments. Arktan has powered rich, innovative social experiences for a growing number of brands, including WWE, Walmart, A&E, Sony Music, TNT and TBS.