EXCLUSIVE: Stack Overflow is using its $85 million to boost Teams — and it wants to use it to crack the India market

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EXCLUSIVE: Stack Overflow is using its $85 million to boost Teams — and it wants to use it to crack the India market
Stack Overflow CEO Prashanth ChandrasekarStack Overflow
  • Stack Overflow raised $85 million in its Series E funding and the company is going to use it to boost its Teams product with a goal to expand in the Indian market.
  • The company’s data shows that there is increased usage of its products in non-metro cities like Ludhiana and Lucknow.
  • Stack Overflow is tracking these trends to see if it could indicate a larger shift towards ‘de-urbanisation’, Stack Overflow CEO Prashanth Chandrasekar told Business Insider in an exclusive interview.
When online developer community Stack Overflow brought on its new CEO, Prashanth Chandrasekar, on board in November last year he had no plans of raising fresh funds for the company before 2021. As coronavirus brought on dramatic changes across the globe with more people working from home and companies being more open to hiring across borders, Stack Overflow had to review its plan.

The monthly sign ups on its public platform and Teams product jumped from 150,000 on average in 2019 to 260,000 in April — staying well above 200,000 in the months that followed. Investors pinged, and Stack Overflow answered.

In July 2020, at the peak of the pandemic, the company raised $85 million and brought on two new investors, Silver Lake Waterman and GIC with the latter leading the Series E round of investment. The fresh funds will almost entirely be focused on boosting Stack Overflow for Teams, the Bengaluru-born Chandrasekar told Business Insider in an exclusive interview.

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The Indian CEO of the American startup Stack Overflow will also be one of the speakers at Business Insider’s Global Trends Festival scheduled for October 19 to October 23 this year.

Stack Overflow's public platform is free for use but Stack Overflow for Teams is a paid product. It’s a knowledge management software for developers to ask questions and find answers and the key to Chandrasekar’s strategy to rapidly transform Stack Overflow into a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company.

The public platform, also has job listings for developers looking for new projects. Developers can use it to re-skill themselves, find out what programming languages are in demand and network with other developers to up their game. India takes centre stage with the largest number of users.

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“India is a big user base for us and it’s untapped in the context of our Team’s product. Almost entirely India’s association today is with the largest number of users,” said Chandrasekar. He explained that while “it’s not all about India,” India is still a big focus when it comes to Stack Overflow’s geo expansion plans.

India’s smaller cities have more users
“There seems to be a lot more higher growth in cities where we never expected to be,” said Chandrasekar explaining how Tier-II and Tier-III cities like Ludhiana and Lucknow show more growth than metro cities or even the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore.

Stack Overflow is currently tracking how people are becoming more distributed since the pandemic, and moving away from cities. Khalid El Khatib, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Stack Overflow and team are trying to determine if there is a larger 'de-urbanisation' trend in the works. “We’re pulling a lot of insight into what’s really the root cause of that,” said Chandrasekar. “It’s not early to say one way or another, but we’re certainly seeing an increase in these smaller towns.”

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In comparison to other markets, like the US, India has a lot more focus on back-end applications and application frameworks rather than front-end applications.

“This has to do with many things like India being a huge powerhouse for software development for companies in the west,” said Chandrasekar.

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