PubMatic (Nasdaq: PUBM) is an independent technology company maximizing customer value by delivering digital advertising’s supply chain of the future.
Mukul Kumar, Co-Founder and President, Engineering at PubMatic discusses his company’s success and how its people set it apart.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your company?
I am the Co-Founder and President, Engineering at PubMatic. I am responsible for product development, innovation and the cloud infrastructure and I manage high performing teams across Pune, Delhi, Silicon Valley and New York. We are expanding those teams as we speak.
PubMatic is a software company that delivers real time digital advertising on behalf of publishers. Digital advertising funds much of the free content we see on the internet. Whether it’s creating new entertainment shows for streaming, free mobile games or quality journalism – if a publisher isn’t charging a subscription, then this content is funded by digital advertising revenue.
Since our launch in 2006, we’ve delivered billions of dollars of revenue to the world’s leading publishers – companies like Times Internet, MX Player, Network18 and further afield, News Corp, New York Times and Axel Springer, which allows them to re-invest in the quality content we know and love.
Can you tell us a bit more about your journey as a company so far?
PubMatic started small – we started with a couple of laptops in my garage in Pune. Today we’re a 713 strong global company, building cutting edge ad technology for our customers. The journey has been amazing, and we’ve learnt a lot along the way. A few important ones that I’ve learnt are:
Never lose sight of what’s important. For us this has meant being 100% customer focused. Building great products for our customers, getting them to use the products, getting them to pay for the products and scaling the products and team.
Take advice but trust your own judgement. When we first started out, we got a lot of advice from industry veterans which really amounted to ‘this is hard, are you sure you’re up for the challenge?’. We were told we’d never be able to achieve the sort of latency we were aiming for, that others with more experience had tried and failed. But we knew we could. At the end of some of those early meetings, my engineering co-founder and I would say ‘we’re going to prove them wrong’ and we’d sit down and code for 18 hours a day, and at the end we’d have achieved what we were looking to achieve.
Don’t be intimidated. When we started, we were going up against some industry heavyweights – who’d all been doing this longer than us, and who told us they’d squash us. But we knew, if we built the right team and stayed customer focused, we’d thrive. And here we are, 15 years later – going strong.
Build the right team. Our engineering team is largely based out of Pune, and we’ve benefited from the top-quality engineering talent that this city produces. We were fortunate to hire some of Pune’s best engineers in the early days, and many are still working with us now. Today we are focused on continuing to hire and retain the finest engineers in the field.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
Two things – our infrastructure and our people.
Programmatic advertising generates enormous amounts of data, and PubMatic owns and operates its own infrastructure around the world to process this data. By controlling all layers of our infrastructure stack, including network, software and hardware, we can operate more efficiently, which helps us create better outcomes for our customers.
Our global infrastructure is supported by a 300-person engineering team, largely based here in India. Our engineering team is the beating heart of the company – they’re driving our phenomenal global success. Our engineers are the best of the best. They specialize in large-scale, high-throughput distributed systems, analytics, machine learning, modern UI, and API tech stacks. In layman’s terms, this means they’re delivering innovation for our customers every day. They are building the future of digital advertising. Every day.
What are some of the challenges or innovations your team work on?
As media budgets continue to shift into digital, and into programmatic, the opportunity for our customers is huge. But they need a partner who can help them thrive by building solutions to give them an edge. At PubMatic we can be that partner, because our teams are always innovating.
Our engineers build software that scales as our business scales, and infrastructure that can support a growing global business. They’re working on hardware innovations that will allow us to lower costs and power consumption, and lower cooling requirements to make us more environmentally sustainable. They’re looking at how we can build a robust network infrastructure, with data centers across the globe connected via a high-speed network that enables business continuity.
Our teams are working on emerging programmatic formats like CTV/OTT and mobile app, and they’re helping to architect the future of the open web by building cookie-less solutions for audience targeting. Many industry-leading products – like our header bidding wrapper ‘OpenWrap’ or our identity solution ‘Identity Hub’ – were born out of internal hackathons.
How do you ensure you’re working with the best of the best?
Employee experience has always been a cornerstone of PubMatic’s success and continues to be one of the company’s key focus areas for 2022.
We believe in hiring and retaining the best talent, and in providing new opportunities to grow and learn. Our people are the backbone of our organization. We provide customized learning courses and various trainings and webinars to support the personal and professional growth of our employees. We also have a competitive pay structure that allows our employees to earn more based on individual performance.
For the past few years, our employees have taken part in The Great Place to Work Institute survey, and PubMatic India has been certified as a Great Place to Work for five consecutive years from 2018 to 2022. We’ve been consistently ranked as one of India’s Top 50 Great Mid-Size Workplaces. In 2021, we were also included in the Best Small and Medium Workplaces in Asia Top 100 list.
I believe this is because we treat our team as partners – we encourage diversity of ideas to create a high-performance workplace. We share our successes and challenges openly with our teams, so every individual can see how they are part of the greater mission.
Originally published in mediawire