Anand Rajaraman is one of Silicon Valley’s less well-known superstars. A successful serial entrepreneur, the Indian born, Stanford educated Rajaraman co-founded Junglee in 1996 which he later sold to Amazon for $250 million. After running Amazon’s technology strategy and inventing its Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing marketplace, Rajaraman then co-founded Cambrian Ventures before going on to found the web guide Kosmix which he sold to Walmart for an undisclosed sum last April.
And now the multi-talented Rajaraman, who is still based in Mountain View, is the SVP at Walmart Global eCommerce as well as the guy in charge of the newly created collaboration network @WalmartLabs, So what, exactly, is Rajaraman trying to do at Walmart? I asked him, when he came into our San Francisco studio to talk to me about his new gig. Social and mobile are fundamentally changing the way we shop, the Walmart SVP explained. There is now a blurring of the lines between physical retailing and e-commerce as shoppers now have a single identity which ties together the online and brick-and-mortar experience. His job, Rajaraman explained, is to make both mobile and social integral to everything that Walmart is doing, both on and offline.
As it says on @WalmartLabs Twitter page: Retail + Social + Mobile = @WalmartLabs
The opportunity for Walmart, the ex-Amazon executive told me, is to “leapfrog” over Amazon and seize the leadership of the next generation retail experience. And if anyone can pull off this daunting feat, it’s Anand Rajaraman, an entrepreneur, investor and technologist who has been successfully reinventing online commerce since the mid Nineties.