Leanplum is thrilled to welcome Anil Khatri to the team as our new CTO!

A veteran executive, Anil brings over three decades of proven success in technology leadership to Leanplum. He’s worked with some of the Silicon Valley’s most iconic companies and held VP of Engineering roles at LinkedIn and Yahoo. Most recently, he served as senior advisor at Norwest Venture Partners, where he provided software technology counsel to Norwest’s portfolio companies, including Leanplum.

In his role as Leanplum CTO, Khatri will oversee day-to-day operations for the product and engineering organizations, including system architecture, performance, and scalability of the Leanplum platform to drive customer growth globally. He’ll also work closely with co-founder and Chief Technologist, Andrew First, on the evolution of the Leanplum platform and development of next-generation marketing technology.

By switching from an advisory role to join our team, Anil came out of retirement. We sat down with Anil to hear about his experience building successful tech organizations, what drew him to our company, and his vision of Leanplum for the future.

Thanks for chatting, Anil! To start, can you tell us how you first became involved with Leanplum?

Thank you, I’m happy to be here!

In 2010, I retired from operational roles and started my own business assessing companies and technologies for investors. It started small, but grew to be a significant practice. I had completed a number of projects with investors at Norwest, which was Leanplum’s lead Series D investor, when I was invited to lead a review of Leanplum — specifically its technology and talent. That review first introduced me to the company.

You were an advisor for Leanplum before you moved into an official role as our CTO. What did you see in Leanplum that inspired you to come out of retirement and lead the team?

There are three main things that drew me to Leanplum right from the start.

The first was the technical challenges that Leanplum was working on. I started my career as a performance scalability and reliability engineer, so this was something that personally intrigued me. The further I progressed through my advisory role at Leanplum, I found that I was more and more exhilarated about working with Leanplum’s Product Development team.

The second thing was that I loved working with a collaborative team where everyone welcomed me with open arms. Leanplum has a really unique culture that encourages individual impact within a close team structure, and I could clearly see the success of this structure.

Finally, I loved the challenge of helping scale Leanplum through the next phase of growth. It’s a great place to be.

I ultimately found that the work at Leanplum, which stretched me in new ways, made me eager to get out of bed in the morning. For the first time in years, I knew that I had to come out of my advisory role and join Leanplum full-time.

You previously worked at tech giants like LinkedIn and Yahoo. What have you learned from scaling those large companies that you can’t wait to apply to Leanplum?

In terms of the technology, I’ve learned that a scalable data and computing architecture is an essential foundation for growth.

In terms of talent, scaling effectively requires small, independent teams that have a focused mission. At Leanplum, our pod structure reflects this tenant, so I’m keen to see the impact pods will have.

Finally, I think that it’s important to hire leaders who are better than you and will hire others who are better than them. To grow effectively, it’s important to surround yourself with people who will always challenge you and challenge each other.

What opportunities in the mobile marketing landscape interest you?

Mobile is slowing becoming the foundation of all marketing activities. That’s because mobile has become a proxy for real-time reliable communication, so mobile as a device is very powerful for interacting with users — you get very high-quality data, you know where users are, and you know who they are.

This wealth of data and increase in mobile usage means that mobile marketing is going to be the future of marketing itself. It will be the nucleus of the marketing cloud.

Why is now a great time to join Leanplum’s prod dev team?

Leanplum is at a point where we have a fantastic product-market fit, fascinating data science challenges, and amazing scale. Our platform impacts almost half a billion monthly active users — and we’re constantly growing. We are already one of the largest active services on the internet.

What’s special about Leanplum is this combination of scale, exceptional talent, and the opportunity for real-time engagement, which no one else can offer. As CTO, I get to use these unique value props to build one of the world’s best technology teams — bringing on board the people who will create the future of real-time marketing.

Let’s end with a Leanplum classic, a “Big Talk” Question. Who do you admire most, living or dead, and why?

The person who I admire most is Stephen Hawkings. In my life, I’ve met a lot of talented people. I believe those people are inherently born with talent. However, there aren’t many people who can harness that talent and achieve a lasting impact, while facing incredible adversity.

As Stephen Hawking became more and more impaired by Lou Gehrig’s disease, he had an exponentially higher impact on the planet and on humanity. He worked so much harder than many of us to achieve what only a few are lucky enough to dream of. His dedication to pursuing knowledge and inspiring others as his disease progressed is incredibly humbling.


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