Bangalore, October 2015, at the heart of Koramangala, the new fashionable district of what has become India’s premier hub for aspiring entrepreneurs, VCs who are out to find the next big thing and most of all technologists of every walk. Millions have come since the early 2000s and today many come pouring into the big, bustling neighborhood to turn their visions into code and code into the thriving businesses of tomorrow. Some of the biggest names in the Indian startup ecosystem were born here. Flipkart, Swiggy, Newshunt, Hackerearth, Instamojo and Ola to name just a few. It is a big day at zeotap. Only days ago the company’s logo at the top of the building was lit up for the first time. Now the life inside has taken over and large yellow lamps hang like incubators from the ceiling — ready to hatch the next ideas and turning the blue company values hanging from the wall into a guiding manifesto. The parts of the wall that are white are still radiating a fresh smell and the red bricks mixing in make the space resemble the many bald but warm factories turned tech offices that one can find in Berlin where zeotap was founded mid 2014. The space is still comparably empty. Not more than 10 team members sit in their comfy chairs while their heads are spinning like machines in pursuit of building the data platform that zeotap has become today.
“I am here since the very early days. When you first start out a lot of physical space literally gives you the freedom to think big and fill that space with life. It is like a blank page that you keep filling every day until products, team members and the company culture start forming a whole picture.” Ameya Agnihotri, VP Engineering
zeotap kept growing and growing and today over 40 colleagues are seamlessly moving between the 2nd floor and the rooftop of the building serving data partners and advertisers alike across three continents. In the morning there are slack messages from the colleagues in the US who have custom client requests waiting. In the afternoon there is a call with the headquarters in Berlin to align strategies and sprint deliverables. What was more of a workshop back then, today is like a well organized department store in which the engineering team, the product & UI team, the infrastructure and information security team and the newly founded data science department work hand in hand between aisles and meeting rooms to onboard new partners or ship out new features. Just recently the team underwent a tough ISO security audit which took months of preparation. And when a big data partner is still not convinced the team doesn’t shy away from making a game out of hacking it’s own technology together with the skeptic, only to prove that it is just not possible.
“For an outsider this must be overwhelming. I mean, we are using over 20 different tools to manage all aspects of our infrastructure alone. But because most of our leaders are here since the early days, we can bring new hires up to speed quickly and help them orientate and grow in this exciting market.” Aditya Chandra, VP Infrastructure
As much as everyone on the team is focused on scoring goals in the data champion’s league they also love to clear their head over a good round of old school table kicker or relax their spines shooting ping pong balls at each other. At noon most colleagues beam themselves from inside their computers up to the 5th floor to have lunch on the rooftop together and get some fresh air into their systems.
“It is a truly colorful group to take care of and when they put up their little dance because they won a kicker game or they just have their minute of madness, one can almost forget that they are all grown-ups with many talents leading what is now a global company. But this is so important. An office without a good laugh is an office without a soul.” Sherley Cheriyan, Office Manager
Finally after a long day of work some go again to the rooftop. They watch the sunset over the roofs of Bangalore, shake off their thoughts and find their way home or to the German brewery nearby. And the zeotap logo lights up again and takes over until the sun brings the next day where everything is possible again.