Pinterest adds DoorDash exec and Caviar lead Gokul Rajaram to its board

Pinterest is bringing on a new board member. The company announced today it has appointed Gokul Rajaram, Caviar lead at soon-to-go-public DoorDash, to its board of directors and as a member of its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. The addition signals Pinterest’s desire to bring more digital advertising expertise to its board, given Rajaram’s experience as product director of Ads at Facebook and product management director at Google AdSense.

“Gokul brings great experience and innovation to our Board and we look forward to his many contributions,” said Pinterest CEO and co-founder Ben Silbermann, in a statement. “His proven track record in shopping, digital advertising and content will be incredibly beneficial as we continue to bring inspirational experiences to users and advertisers on Pinterest,” he added.

Currently, Rajaram serves on DoorDash’s executive team where he leads the premium food ordering service, Caviar, which DoorDash acquired from Square last year for $410 million. The Caviar deal included Rajaram and team, in addition to the service’s restaurant partnerships. At Square, Rajaram spent five years heading Caviar and before that, had led several product development teams.

Rajaram’s background also includes time at Facebook and Google, where he focused on digital ads. At Facebook, he helped the company transform its ads business to become mobile-first. And at Google, he helped launch the Google AdSense product and grow it into a substantial portion of Google’s business, Pinterest notes.

Other relevant experience includes time on RetailMeNot’s board, as well as an investor and advisor to numerous startups, including those that intersected retail/e-commerce, analytics and social — like Pinterest-focused Piquora, mobile ad company Vungle, retail advertising startup PromoteIQ and many others.

Today, Rajaram additionally serves on the boards of The Trade Desk and Course Hero.

Rajaram has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur where he was class valedictorian. He received an MBA from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin, where he received the MCD University Fellowship.

His addition to Pinterest’s board comes at a time when the company’s ad business is growing.

Earlier this month, Pinterest reported revenues for 2019 had topped $1 billion, up 51% over 2018. In the fourth quarter alone, Pinterest saw $400 million in revenue, up 46% year-over-year, and beating analyst forecasts of $371.2 million. Feed-based Shopping Ads contributed heavily to this growth, with the ads more than doubling in the second half of 2019 compared with the first. Pinterest also said its investment in measurement tools had been paying off. In Q4, conversion campaigns — which let advertisers track from pin clicks to actions, like adding items to a cart — grew by 150%.

The company said during earnings that scaling its ads business would continue to be a strategic priority in 2020, as it looks to capture more mid-size and international advertisers and make the service more shoppable.

“Pinterest is a beloved brand that inspires people to create a life they love,” said Gokul Rajaram, about his board appointment. “I’ve always been excited about Pinterest’s mission and impact on people’s everyday lives, and am thrilled to help Ben, Evan, and the team continue building amazing products that empower people and advertisers around the world,” he said.

Rajaram joins other Pinterest board members Jeffrey Jordan, GP at Andreessen Horowitz; Leslie Kilgore, previously Netflix CMO; BVP partner Jeremy Levine; Fredric Reynolds, previously CFO at CBS; Michelle Wilson, previously from Amazon legal; and Pinterest co-founders Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann.