|Born||May 30, 1987|
|Known for||Sprig, Udemy, Lyft|
Gagan Biyani is an Indian American serial entrepreneur, marketer, and journalist. He was a co-founder and President of Udemy, a large online education company, and was co-founder and CEO of Sprig, a food delivery company. Biyani was also a reporter for TechCrunch and one of the early employees at Lyft. He began his career working for Accenture and Microsoft.
Early Career & Udemy
Biyani attended University of California, Berkeley, and received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. He began his career working at Accenture before transitioning into technology entrepreneurship and journalism. In 2009, Biyani co-founded Udemy, one of the first MOOC platforms. Udemy serves as a platform that allows instructors to build online courses on topics of their choosing. Courses are offered across a breadth of categories, including business and entrepreneurship, academics, the arts, health and fitness, language, music, and technology. Most classes are in practical subjects such as Excel software or using an iPhone camera.
At Udemy, Biyani focused mainly on marketing, instructor acquisition, investor relations, finance, business development, and public relations. As of 2018, the company claims to have over 24 million students and offer more than 80,000 courses from thousands of teachers. According to Alexa, it is ranked among the top 500 websites on the Internet.
Lyft & Founding Sprig
After Udemy, Biyani spent six months as a Growth Advisor at Lyft. While at Lyft, Gagan came up with the idea for Sprig. While speaking with friends, he came to the conclusion that the concept of ridesharing[disambiguation needed] could be applied to the food industry. He left Lyft in 2013 to begin the venture into healthy home cooked food. He partnered with a number of chefs, including Nate Keller, a former Executive Chef at Google's headquarters, and Kyle Connaughton, Executive Chef at 3 Michelin Star Single Thread, who served as culinary advisor.
The concept for Sprig was to provide home cooked food via delivery. The startup claimed to allow users to order a “balanced meal”, which is prepared in Sprig’s industrial kitchen and delivered in 15–20 minutes. Sprig's chef is Nate Keller, Google’s former executive chef.
In March 2014, Sprig raised $10 million in Series A funding from Greylock Partners with Battery Ventures and Accel participating. As part of the funding, Greylock partner Simon Rothman joined Sprig’s board. A year later, the company announced it had raised $45 million via its Series B funding round.
In 2016, Biyani and his co-founder Neeraj Berry were named by Forbes in its 30 Under 30 list for Consumer Tech entrepreneurs. Gagan was also part of the Fast Company's Most Creative People list around the same time.
Sprig raised a total of $57 million and had over 1,300 employees at its peak, but announced in late 2017 that it would no longer be operational. In his closing e-mail, Biyani cited challenges in the complexity of the operations as reasons for the closure. According to TechCrunch, a number of other startups in the same industry also closed in 2017, including venture-backed SpoonRocket and Maple.
Growth Hackers Conference
Biyani founded the Growth Hackers Conference in 2013, which he co-founded with Erin Turner. The event was in San Francisco and featured a number of well-known growth hackers, including Chamath Palihapitiya, Sean Ellis, Keith Rabois,, and others.
Biyani was a journalist prior to starting Udemy. He covered mobile applications and technology at TechCrunch. He was also a reporter for TechCrunch, covering mobile applications and technology. While there, he wrote a number of investigative journalism pieces, including one about a PR firm that was writing fake reviews on the App Store. He broke the story in TechCrunch. According to The New York Times, the findings led to an FTC investigation and Biyani's findings were quoted by the FTC’s official documents.
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