Sridhar Ramaswamy was part of the early engineering team that built Google Search and he later led Google’s advertising products, which accounts for a lion’s share of its revenue. But he gave it all up in 2018, as he believed ads detract from a good search experience and can also lead to unintended social consequences.
“The ad model has been great for bringing search to everyone on the planet, but over time, there is more and more pressure to show more ads and not really what the user wants. Our thesis is that we can create a much better search product, focusing solely on what a customer needs,” says Ramaswamy, the CEO of Neeva, speaking on a video call from his California home. This domain the 54-year-old knows well, having been the senior vice-president of ads and commerce at Google, and running its travel, shopping, and search infrastructure teams.
Raghunathan studied at IIT Mumbai and was earlier vice-president of Monetisation at YouTube.