Kevin Freitas has been working since he was in college. Fifteen years on the job, he now leads the human resources (HR) vertical at Dream11, a Mumbai-based online fantasy sport gaming firm. “All through my working life I wanted to learn what inspires people, how my managers inspire me, and how I can bring both the ideas together,” he says.
Most product technology startups shift base to Bengaluru after a successful start since India’s technology capital is more conducive for hiring engineers, product managers and information technology consultants. Finding and nurturing the right talent in Mumbai, therefore, was the biggest challenge Freitas faced when he joined Dream11 in 2017 as HR head. Today, the firm employs 220 people across the country on the product side, double of what it was a year ago.
With 51 million registered users, Dream11 is backed by marquee global investors, including Tencent, Steadview Capital and Multiples Alternate Asset Management. The firm did not raise any fresh capital in the last round, and some of the early backers pared some of their stake to Steadview Capital last fortnight.
“We have a small, tightly-knit team and are co-located in a single office. One of the biggest challenges as a resource manager is to find people with the right skillset and get them to blend with the culture of the organisation,” adds Freitas, whose team has doubled since he took over an HR department of five people in 2017.
He believes that one of the managerial skills that has helped him successfully build his team is engaging with them at a personal level, working closely and inspiring people. He believes that since Dream11 is an organisation with young resources, managers who are inspirational are key to the organisation. Every individual’s performance, Freitas explains, adds to the manager’s performance and the goals that they have been entrusted with.
Freitas has previously worked as HR leader for mobile advertising platform InMobi’s sales organisation across China, Japan, Asia-Pacific and India. He also led specialist functions like culture, learning, engagement, recruitment and employer branding as part of his job profile. He has also worked with ecommerce website Flipkart, management consulting firm Hay Group and multinational consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble.
Freitas says “to create a great tech startup, it is important to create active engagements with employees and use data to drive decisions, which [will] finally help in creating high performing teams”.