My Business Trip Experience for setting up Mercari India

Hi! This is Jatin from the People & Culture division at Mercari. I have been involved heavily in setting up the HR function for Mercari India and this has been one of the most happening projects of my professional career. I went on my second business trip to Bangalore, India in June/July 2022 and I will share my experience in this blog.

Chapter-1: “This is India”

It was another long day of work at our India office, mainly comprising of interviews with the prospective candidates and alignment meetings with our HR partner when we decided to head for dinner. To avoid the Bangalore traffic, we decided to go to a fine dining restaurant in the nearby Indiranagar area. I called the taxi using one of the popular apps and selected the location “WeWork Sunriver Embassy Golf Links” and after 3 cancellations, I finally got accepted by the driver who was 5 minutes away from the location. This feeling was similar to getting a job after being rejected multiple times in the interview stages.

I called on Rupesh, Junichi-san, and Wakasa-san to wind up the work and go down. Expecting the taxi to be waiting for us downstairs, we hurried down only to find the driver canceled the ride…

After switching across multiple taxi apps, we finally got our ride. As we sat inside, there was a sense of achievement in all of us that our efforts finally paid off. In Wakasa-san’s words, “This is India – it takes some effort to do even small things but there’s a sense of satisfaction and happiness when you are successful”. Earlier, it took us 3 visits to a popular telecom company’s center to get a SIM card for Wakasa-san, and a few weeks delay in getting approval for our legal entity! (A lot of happiness on getting legal approval for Mercari Software Technologies India Private Limited!!)

Chapter 2: Be Prepared for Anything

Mercari’s backend system is being developed in Golang, and when I saw this Golang Developers Meetup in Bangalore shared on LinkedIn, I thought it would be good to just network with the community. Since the meetup was a physical one near our hotel, I asked Rupesh, Junichi-san, and Wakasa-san to join too. On reaching the venue, we got to know that there was an open presentation slot and if we like, we can introduce Mercari and our engineering team during this time. This was a great opportunity for us to introduce ourselves as we are new to the Indian tech community. Luckily we had a presentation template ready and in 30 minutes’ time, I was able to customize it for the event. We gave the presentation and had a lot of questions and interest during the networking time.

In another instance, we decided to check out the Golf Course next to the Embassy Golf Links Tech Park. There are references to this Golf Course in the famous book “The World is Flat” (reference). Unknowing that the Golf Course premise can only be accessed by the members, we went inside and were investigated by the security at the cafe inside the premise. While we tried to explain that we unknowingly entered the facility, the security representative was furious and literally bashed us out. To make up for it, we had an amazing lunch buffet at the hotel next to the Golf course and discussed how to get the membership for the Golf Course facility.

In something more positive, we were expecting our first hire to be made around the end of July or the beginning of August, but things worked out better and Anandha, our first hire was able to join on 30th June 2022!

Thanks to the support from the stakeholders in Japan, we were able to improvise the onboarding for Anandha in a very short time. Welcome, Anandha to Mercari India!

Chapter 3: Celebrate Small and Big Events

This business trip was full of events – from getting the legal approval for Mercari in India to Anandha joining us as our first hire to Shivam’s internship coming to end. We were able to celebrate these events with the members present in the office. Here are some snaps from different events!

Chapter 4: Enjoy the Chaos

Setting up a new entity in a different country is a chaotic affair – there are a lot of operations, many stakeholders, unknown variables, and a need to move fast. What I have learned from this experience is if you don’t enjoy the chaos, it can get overwhelming. No matter how much you plan ahead for things to happen, there would be unidentified blockers that you need to fix as you go along. The key to success is to be open-minded, flexible, and candid to ask for help.

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