Verified Expert in Product Management
For 8+ years, Rahul has built products used by millions globally. He currently leads his boutique product dev studio 10xers Labs, to help founders achieve their vision. Before starting up himself, he led product teams at Gojek, Ola, and Careem, working across product functions from Gen AI, customer experience, growth, marketplace, platform trust and safety, fraud, mobile apps, and analytics. He uses his user-centric, lean, and data-driven approach to help teams innovate and take ideas to market.
Product and Strategy Consultant
- Worked closely with the founding team of an early-stage startup on customer development (target user identification), customer interviews, customer journey mapping, prototyping, problem-solution fit, idea validation, hypothesis formation and validation, business model generation, launching, pitch deck preparation, pivoting, and MVP development.
- Helped teams at a growth-stage startup improve over their product-market fit by establishing the company-wide product vision, breaking that into a product roadmap, prioritizing that roadmap, agile product development, scrum practices, product delivery, beta and A/B testing, go-to-market strategy, analytics, KPI identification, improvement product and operations metrics, growth strategy, monetization, improving user engagement/retention, and org structuring.
- Helped internal teams at enterprise and SMB with adopting and transitioning to digital, agile software development, scrum, systems redesign, scaling, business process management, data-driven product development, product launches, and setting organization best practices.
Founder and CEO
- Identified gaps in the current eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, Bigcommerce, Magneto, WooCommerce, Wix, and Squarespace.
- Built SaaS tools for the next wave of small/medium commerce entrepreneurs to improve their revenue, business efficiency, workflow. Listed and distributed these apps via the eCommerce platform marketplaces on a subscription business model.
- Built apps for underserved niches like productivity, finances, store design, sales and conversion, orders, and shipping and marketing.
Chief Product Officer [Fractional]
- Advised the venture studio leadership in the ideation of six ventures over the course of two years.
- Led the customer discovery process, customer interviews, design sprints, and value proposition exercises to structure the new ventures.
- Spearheaded the development of all six tech platforms from scratch.
Product Management Trainer
- Leveraged years of experience to build products at three of the region's most prominent startups serving people in 21 countries, equivalent to 33.23% of the world's population. Trained students on product management practices, principles, and frameworks.
- Guided software engineers, designers, QAs, business managers, and marketing practitioners in transitioning into product management.
- Trained mid-career product managers to succeed within their organization by improving their abilities to understand user personas/segments, define clear user problems, make business cases, think through solutions, and define KPIs.
- Defined the shared vision and executed the roadmap for 3 workstreams - Driver in-trip experience, driver quality and platform trust and safety functions. In accordance with the company's yearly objective and dependent product/business function's roadmaps.
- Established quarterly OKRs for driver quality and platform trust and security product-engineering teams. Distilled broad objectives into 3 Key results each and tracked the progress throughout the quarter to consistently achieve 60-80% of the OKRs.
- Built and launched a microservices-based facial recognition product to control quality at scale and detect driver fraud. Owned the whole workstream from ideating, evaluating the technology vendor to A/B testing MVP's performance in test cities and bringing it up to 97.3% accuracy before Iteratively rolling it out without affecting any critical business KPIs.
- Led the development of driver iOS app MVP from scratch, to increase supply and onboard new drivers in iOS dominant MENA markets.
- Established A/B testing framework to improve the feature launch process from pre-post analysis to simultaneous multi-variant testing.
- Advised PMs on KPI identification, business case formation, root cause analysis, scrum, running multi-variant tests and more product management practices.
- Led my team to build and A/B test an MVP for driving behaviour tracking. Collaborated with leading telematics vendors to evaluate the correlation of bad trip ratings due to poor driving and disproved the company-wide opinion of causation of one due to the other. Then de-prioritized the project and deployed resources to work on other higher RoI projects.
- Transitioned the product-engineering teams I worked with from kanban workflow to scrum to bring more predictability in releases and velocity.
- Took over the existing driver app revamp project, examined and documented all existing features, business logic and backend API usage. Identified new set of features based on quantitive, qualitative analysis and competitor research. Estimated the entire revamp development effort and deprioritised redundant features to priorities and deliver the must-haves first.
Founder & CEO
- Ran a partnership firm owning 17 cabs which ran on on-demand cab aggregators Ola and Uber in India. This was a completely owned and self funded business making money fro day 1.
- As the CEO, I created the business plan, built the financial model, improved unit economics, revenue and profit margins.
- Procured the cabs via car dealerships, bank auctions and third parties sellers. Estimated market costs, negotiated with parties and managed the financial transactions.
- Recruited drivers and operations manager via blue collar job networks, interviewed, background checked, on-boarded and trained them to deliver great customer experience.
- Defined SoPs, SLAs and policies for the company and staff and oversaw the day to day operations.
- Led a geographically distributed cross-functional team of 15 (developers, QA, PM, designer, and UX researcher) working in India and Indonesia. Revamped the sprint process to a scrum-based 1-week iteration, resulting in consistent velocity and weekly release pipeline.
- Defined the yearly vision and roadmap for driver platform in sync with company-wide OKRs and other dependent product functions.
- Worked with the Board of Directors to establish the right KPIs for the driver platform and built dashboards to monitor and improve these KPIs WoW.
- Brainstormed and Implemented new business logic in our microservices-based order flow which reduced fraud and improved order acknowledgement rate in driver apps by 26.5%.
- Identified the key issues in the core business funnel via quantitative analysis. Validated the findings via group discussion based qualitative research. Led design and engineering collaboration to redesign the UX of the driver app’s order acceptance flow and increased the order acceptance rate by 5.3%.
- Led my team in developing the Kilat driver app and delivered it in three weeks from design ready to beta launch in Jakarta.
- Transitioned driver platform from being a horizontally supporting team to an independent vertical with its roadmap. Initially established driver experience, identity platform, fraud, and compliance workstreams within the driver platform then handed over to dedicated product teams.
- Led the driver app’s security enhancement project. Identified the requirements, overseeing the integration with 3rd party code obfuscation SDK provider, created instrumentation plan for logging rooted device usage, app tampering, in-memory code manipulation, request filtering fraudulent techniques to secure GoJek from driver fraud.
- Took various features like OTP based login, heatmaps, driver surge, driver profile, document submission features from an initial idea to a realised feature—validating the problem-solution fit with user research and data analysis, writing the requirements, contributing to the design and development decisions, overseeing the build, release, and automated QA processes, and running the A/B tests to validate the hypotheses behind the idea.
Product Manager - Growth Strategy
- Increased High-LTV segment's bookings by 3.5% by building features like just-in-time marketing notifications, leveraging habit loops and running gamified cashback offers. Led a team of data scientists and product analysts to grow customer-side demand.
- Planned, scoped, and collaborated with data scientists to build user segmentation engine which creates on-the-fly user segments based on transactional & behavioural data. This engine was then used to improve monetisation by integrating it with in-house Pricing & discount engine, CMS and CRM tools internally used by 200+ people across product, marketing and operations teams at Ola for selective user targeting.
- Created and executed gamification and personalization strategies on user segments to increase user conversion by 5.8% and retention by 11%.
- Created a framework to break monthly booking targets into weekly and daily targets based on the city-wise historic trip and offer conversion data. Got it adopted by the local city teams to track their progress and achieve targets.
Product Manager - Customer Experience
- Achieved a 4% reduction in faulty bookings where pickup deviation > 250 meters. Identified the root cause of the problem by quantitatively analyzing millions of bookings, then conducted phone interviews to qualitatively validate the quantitative findings. Based on the customer behavior identified collaborated with designers. wrote product requirements, oversaw build developments, ran A/B tests to validate hypothesizes and improved upon the successfully performing variant.
- Identified, scoped and led both technical and UX improvements to the in-app search functionality to help users select accurate pickup locations and destination.
- Created and executed the roadmap for consumer app performance improvement. Led a team of three developers to instrument detailed breakup and logging of failures In-app and backend for business-critical events like app launches and booking requests. Improved "ready to book" app launch landings by 5.4% by optimizing the app's performance.
- Identified 3% bookings drop during app launches and a 1.2% drop during booking confirmation due to internet loss or really poor connectivity on 2G networks. Integrated Facebook's open-source network monitoring library to Instrument conversion funnel drops due to internet issues. Built a strong business case backed with data, got leadership's buy-in to build "Ola Offline Booking" and delivered the feature within the same quarter.
- Built "Ola Bots" a complete services layer over the existing back end to launch bots on multiple popular consumer platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and others.
Software Engineer - Android
- Developed some of the most crucial features for Ola's customer android app like realtime cab movement, emergency alert button, add emergency contacts, Ola cafe checkout flow, taxi for sure integration, and more.
- Worked on analytics attribution, code modularization, refactoring, and code reviews.
Software Engineer - Java Banking Systems
- Worked on Yodlee's banking data aggregator platform. Created automated bots to take encrypted customer passwords and log-in on their behalf, to then scrape their baking statements and transactions. Aggregate and store this data in customer profiles and populate it in their other bank accounts for one unified view.
- Developed java scraping agents from scratch for Bank of America, Citi Bank, Meryl Lynch, and Fidelity.
Online Live Fitness Session and 1:1 Coaching Marketplace in MENA Regionhttps://nowfitnesshub.com/
Led the execution of building an online fitness marketplace for the MENA region from an Idea to an MVP and then a finished product in its V1. Advised the founder of all aspects from customer discovery to product development startup operations.
- Led the team into customer discovery, asking open-ended questions to the customers, trainers, and all stakeholders involved to uncover the real insights to understand the customer pain point.
- Established the problem, solution, and implementation hypothesis for the idea and market and validated them via open-ended customer calls to invalidate some hypothesis and proceed on building the startup based on the validated ones.
Scooter Sharing Client | Achieved 7.4% Increase in Scooters Utilization
Increased overall scooter utilization by 7.4% by identifying the 75th percentile and above hotspots in the city.
1) Improve operations process on the supply side
2) Improve asset utilization and
3) Enhance on-ground ops staff productivity.
Due to the high entropy and realtime nature of the business, which leads to scooters being driven and dropped in unpredictable locations across the city. Scooters need to be rebalanced periodically to ensure that assets are not lying around in underutilized areas.
At this stage of the startup, there was no data team or analysts available with minimal data logging. Worked Independently with available location data and identified proxy data in the absence of accurate data to build upon. Created queries to identify key hotspots in the city which should be prioritized for rebalancing over other scooter stations. Iteratively improved the query and later productized it to be used by non-technical operations teams which increased their productivity.
This data-driven approach prioritizing the top hotspots and modeling the radius around them led to an overall improvement of 7.4% in the utilization of the city's scooter supply
Launched a ML-Based Facial Recognition Product to Scalability Verify Drivers in Realtime
Conceptualized, implemented, A/B tested, and launched facial recognition features in Egyptian cities with 97.3% accuracy.
With that goal to ensure the safety of all stakeholders on our platform. We explored a breadth of possible solutions to verify every single driver taking orders in realtime and in a scalable way.
We finally narrowed down to build a facial recognition product with mainly 3 components
1) Machine Learning-based facial recognition engine which checks the driver's selfie against his KYC.
2) Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) engine to automatically detect possible situations based on the risk factor in the situational context and trigger the app to ask the driver to verify himself.
3) Camera module to identify facial features via a selfie in the input format expected by the backend FR-engine
I led this initiative under the Platform Trust & Safety workstream at Careem. Starting by developing a nuanced understanding of the on-ground conditions, the quality of phones used by our drivers, and thinking through every edge case. We then invited and evaluated RFPs by 11 vendors to finalize one. Then various modules were scoped and prioritized for development and iteratively launched through A/B tests, continuously incorporating the learnings in next release
Go Jek | Achieved 5.3% Lift in Order Acceptance Rate
Understood the broken UX via usability testing to design a simpler order screen to improve the acceptance rate by 5.3%.
To solve this, I went back to the drawing board to conceptualize a new clutter-free experience with just the right amount of information to enable drivers to make a decision within 10 seconds.
Organized group discussions and usability tests to empathize and understand from the drivers on what was leading to their poor acceptance rates. Not leading with a solution and asking them on what can be improved we finally found out that they were not able to identify how much will this order make them and what's the distance they need to travel for it.
Decluttered the order screen and prioritized only the most important four elements to be shown to the driver for him to make a decision within ten seconds whether to accept or pass on the order.
This led to significant gains on the order acceptance rates across all categories as the right drivers were accepting the orders they found right for them
Ola | Local Innovation - Offline Booking
Made the business case and built the feature. Made Ola the only app in the world where users can book a cab without internet.
On analyzing the data for this project it was discovered that Ola customers lose internet at a lot of critical events such as app launches and just while confirming their ride. This affected our bottom line as well.
Analyzed this data along with the existing conversion funnel drops to make a coherent picture and build a business case to increase 0.5% revenue via this feature. Presented this project plan to the CEO, CTO, director of product, and customer apps. Got the approval to build the feature.
I envisioned the product, collaborated with designers on the UX, worked out the details with engineers on the SMS gateway, integration and SMS input ingestion engine to building an MVP of Ola offline booking via SMS. This was then beta-tested in some select cities before collecting the feedback for the next round of iteration and India-wide launch.
Segmentation Engine | Ola
Built the first-ever segmentation engine at Ola that was then used company-wide to identify right offerings for target users.
By building the segmentation engine we were able to understand our customers better with respect to all the products offered by us. It helped teams such as Ola share, Ola pass, Ola select, Ola loyalty and more to identify and target the right user segments with precision improving the conversion of all these programs more than 15%. We later used data science and supervised learning to detect potential users who are going to churn and prevent that by offering promotions specifically to them in a personalized fashion.
GoJek | Prevented Fraud Worth $xx Million in Illegitimate Incentives
Reduced fraud and improved order acknowledgment rate in driver apps by 26.5%, saving a confidential amount in incentives.
The driver's incentive calculation depends on multiple factors including but not limited to the order acceptance rate which is further dependent on an order acknowledgment rate. Only orders that are acknowledged on the device would get accepted or rejected.
(details are confidential)
This was leading to millions of dollars of overpayment in incentives to drivers who were actually not performing the work.
We solved the loopholes by rethinking the order flow from first principles and were able to achieve 26.5% improvements on the system.
Scooter Sharing Client | Established the Vision, Roadmap Product Backlog for Charger Ecosystem
Conceptualized and defined product requirements and user stories for product features to improve charger/hunter's experience.
He gathered feedback, conceptualized features, wrote requirement docs and user stories and created a backlog for the following problems
Prob 1) After locating scooter on the map, its frustrating to reach there and not be able to find it
Sol 1.1) Feature to find the scooter in the real world with the help of 360 videos shot by the previous user who dropped it
Sol 1.2) Hardware feature to make the scooter loudly beep during the day and blink its flashlight during the night
Prob 2) Accessing scooters parked in locked/private property
Sol 2.1) Reverse geocoding the location of scooters and fetching the property type to identify If it's private property. Then set the right expectation for the charger or assigning it to ops.
Prob 3) Showing right scooters for chargers to pickup
Sol 3.1) Showing the user too many scooters around them might make them try far away scooters, which might not stay there until the user reaches there
3.1.1) Dynamic radius based on the availability of chargers in the area
3.1.2) Locking 1 scooter for 5 mins
Video Commerce | Market Research, Go-To-Market Strategy and Technical Implimentation Plan
Conducted market research and prepared a technical implementation plan for a client starting up a video/social commerce app.
1. Understood the landscape for 3 industries - Social media (Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube), video streaming, and eCommerce to find an overlap opportunity
2. Conducted market research to identify target customer segments and build personas for potential users
3. Ideated new set of features for content creation, content sharing, transacting over the app, and mobile checkout flow
4. Prepared mockups and put together an InVision clickable prototype to gather user feedback on the user experience of the prototype and iterated as per the target user's needs and feedback
5. Ideated hypothesis to validate at a large scale
6. Launched a minimal MVP to collect data and iterate on the features and then finalized the first version to launch publicly
7. Planned the technical implementation of the Android/iOS mobile apps, video streaming back end system, CMS platform, eCommerce checkout modules
8. Scoped the work in quarterly roadmaps, broke the roadmap in product backlog with epics and user stories defined to the final details
9. Planned the go-to-market strategy and marketing plan
Delivered the artifacts to the client's team and assisted in the execution.
GoJek | Led Implementation of Google's Navigation SDK in Driver Apps
Led the collaboration of GoJek driver platform and Google navigation SDK teams to integrate in-app navigation in driver apps.
Seeing the huge volume of trips in the ride-sharing industry and usage of google maps on most android phones for free. Google started working on its own navigation SDK which would combine its multiple web-based APIs in the form of a mobile SDK
1. Directions API - Provide directions for transit, biking, driving, or walking between multiple locations.
2. Distance Matrix API - Calculate travel times and distances for multiple destinations.
3. Roads API - Determine the precise route a vehicle travels.
4. Geolocation API - Return the location of a device without relying on GPS, using location data from cell towers and WiFi nodes.
Google chose to partner with GoJek for the beta trials of this SDK.
I led this collaboration from GoJek, helping the google team understand the nature of our business, evaluating their SDK in our context, scoping out the integration work, creating and adding stories to the product backlog, launching the nav SDK to our beta users and then A/B testing with larger set and give feedback to google over weekly sync up calls.
GoJek | Compliance Platform for New and Existing Driver KYC Compliance
Built the first version of document submission, compliance management and driver identity management platform for ops team.
This posed a big challenge in front of us as with a large fleet of more than a million drivers at that time. We had to not only build a productized flow to ensure KYC compliance for the thousands of drivers joining us every day but also ensure the same compliance standards on the existing fleet with very little proper documentation in place.
Led the development of the platform with these modules
1) Document submission module in the driver apps
2) OCR module to extract the information from photos and do verification before submission
3) Verification dashboard for ops teams to manually verify and cross-check the accuracy of information from previous modules
4) Reporting on top of all the modules, including ops agent performance.
The first iteration of this platform was built within a month, including ideation, gathering requirements, finalizing tech stack, system architecture, and a minimal UI. This product was more impactful than any bottom-line impacting products as it allowed us to operate legally in Indonesia.
Scooter Sharing Client | Implemented Hardware + Software Solution to Improve Location Accuracy
Ideated and A/B tested a hardware+software solution to improve the location accuracy of hardware GPS trackers by 23%.
1. The user intending to book
2. The Ops team/Hunters recovering missing scooters
The battery backup of shared scooters only lasts 24-48 hours and an asset needs to be recovered in this time otherwise it can be lost and written off.
Challenge was to come up with a way to improve the accuracy of the GPS coordinates sent by the Hardware GPS tracker attached to the scooter.
- Started by understanding the location transmission process of the Oyster 2 device.
- Quantitatively analyzed the location sent by 10 scooters in the last 24 hours.
- Did 6 hours of a field test by driving the scooter along with sending a location from a GPS based mobile app to compare the deviation
- Conceptualized and implemented a solution to triangulate location values on a rolling basis and identify the most accurate location to then send it downstream to the other system.
- A/B tests of text and control showed a 23% improvement in locations send via this algorithm
GoJek | Driver Payment Processing
Improved upon the functionality to withdraw earnings from GoJek wallet to bank accounts via direct transfers
Payments product included the following systems
1) Payments and dues re-conciliation to check if the driver has settled all his dues and there is no outstanding payment.
2) Check if the driver has sufficient balance before being given an order.
3) Withdrawing earnings from wallet to the bank account
4) Driver to Driver top-up via GoPay wallet
5) Customer GoPay wallet top-up via cash through drivers
6) Phone and other recharge for customers via driver GoPay wallet
Ola | Sentiment Analysis on User Comments to Identify Issues
Built a PoC to identify customer experience issues by doing NLP and sentiment analysis on trip feedback/app store comments.
Finding the most pressing issues which are leading to low trip ratings and customer churn in millions of bookings is like finding a needle in the haystack.
You can't have feedback options like
- Our driver was sweating and smelling
- Our driver kept talking the whole ride whereas I wanted to sleep
- My driver appeared suspicious
A 1 to 5-star rating does not help much except pain a quantitative picture. Comments are where the real pot of gold lies.
We set out to build a scalable engine which can go through the comments of all the trips rated below 3 and perform the following data manipulation
1) Identify the sentiment of the comment as Positive, Neutral, Negative, and Threatening.
2) identify keywords in the comments which can give a list of the whole comment
3) classify the comment based on these keywords under various buckets such as unprofessional behavior, car issues, and more.
Built the MVP withing 2 weeks to present it to the Director of product and later plan, scope and create the backlog for the full-fledged tool.
GoJek | Identity Management Platform
Upgraded the entire driver base (~1 million drivers at that time) from username/password login to identity-based OTP login.
Drivers who not habitual email users were using the then flawed fixed email and password pattern created en masse for logging into the GoJek app which had their profile, financials details, and earnings.
Drivers were susceptible to Identity theft via pattern recognition, social engineering, and fake documents.
We decided to create a new identity system for our drivers.
To ensure that the new system is full proof we laid out the first principles the new system would be built on.
1. The identity needs to be verified in realtime
2. Identity needs to be verified every day using OTP verification
3. At any given point in time, only 1 instance of the account can be active.
I led my team to build the new migration feature which
1. Requested each driver to register their login number
2. Govt identity verification flow for no mismatch cases
3. Self serve identity verification without visiting the ops center or losing day's work
1. Facebook SMS kit, Twilio SMS kit, and local SMS gateway provider APIs
2. OCR reading vendor
Toptal Client | Prototype a Complex New Social Networking Apphttp://bit.ly/with-viewer
Partnered with the client to translate his complex vision for a new social network into a simple clickable prototype MVP.
He hired me with just a vision doc where he had written down all the ideas he had around this new social networking app. At first, it was hard to understand even for me as the app was trying to solve too many problems at the same time and did not have a clear target user persona in mind.
I took on this project as a challenge and took the client through a process of design thinking with intense brainstorming on
- The core value proposition of the product
- What problem does it solve or what need does it fulfill for the end-user
- How would certain users use this app in the real world scenarios
- Who are our target users who would be quick on adopting such a new social network
Together with an approach of asking hard questions to break the idea and a lean approach to designing mockups which helps us visualize the concept more clearly. I delivered a clickable prototype of the app which the client now uses as a low-fidelity MVP to explain his idea better to target users and Investors.
Toptal Client | Customer Discovery and Startup Idea/Problem Validation
Led the customer discovery process to help the client validate/identify the main problems and strategized MVP to get funding.
Lead the entire project as an interim founder/CEO to build a start from 0 to 1.
- Worked on understanding the Saudi B2B logistics market
- Analyzed the trends via market research and competitor analysis
- Interviewed people at the grassroots level to understand the stakeholders involved in a B2B shipping process
- Crated customer personas and interviewed them with open-ended questions to extract insights, not just data
- Create a process diagram and identified problems for the stakeholders in the process they follow
- Planned operations and features around the pain points identified
- Trained the operations team on interviewing customers
- Setup operations processes to run an MVP-pilot for the actual business on the ground
- Planned the product roadmap for V1 which support the on-ground operations and business teams
Took the project from an idea and delivered a working pilot program to the founder to fundraise with strong traction, business, and product KPIs results that the investor needed in order to do their successful due diligence
Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science
Rajiv Gandhi Technical University - Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India