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Labs Profile: Kaustav Mitra

October 23, 2018

Labs Profile: Kaustav Mitra

Kaustav Mitra is the kind of person who learns new coding languages just to relax. This year, for instance, Kaustav managed to “build a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain with a Python backend and a React mobile app frontend” in order to keep chill when not occupied with his role as Head of Growth & Mobile for Labs’ peer-to-peer lending product, Octopus Choice.

Kaustav started his professional career as an aerospace engineer fresh out of — as he put it — the “nerdiest” grad school in India, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). “Progressively, I realised working in business meant working with people,” stated Kaustav. “Having the best algorithm in the world is not enough. You have to convince someone that it is indeed the best.”

A move to Germany allowed Kaustav to broaden his business perspective from technology to team management. While working for Airbus, Kaustav coordinated a pan-European team to develop and manufacture parts of the A380 wing. “I was leading a team from France, Germany and UK, with very different inter-cultural nuances. Over my time there, 50% of my efforts were spent building relationships.”

Always looking for greater challenges and new perspectives, Kaustav left Germany to study business in London, receiving an MBA from the London Business School. Kaustav worked for a time in customer analytics, marketing strategy and business development before landing a key role in the derivatives business at Goldman Sachs and then at Octopus Labs, which combined both his technical background and his expertise in analytics, marketing and team management.

Less than a year after arriving at Labs, Kaustav moved from leading the data and commercial analytics team to Head of Growth & Mobile for Octopus Choice. "I have oversight now of growing Choice through both our direct and advised channels and actively work with product, development and marketing teams to make that happen."

Kaustav finds Labs a great fit for his way of working. The flexible, diverse and motivated office culture dispenses with the usual red tape that encumbers many traditional businesses. This, according to Kaustav, allows workers to freely explore new ideas. “It means, as a team, we can be super agile. One day is never going to be the same as any other. As an easily bored person, this is the best personal development I can ask for.”

Asked if there was ever a personal ambition he felt too intimidated to undertake, Kaustav responded, “currently, it is the Ironman triathlon. It’s a challenge worth taking on, but it requires multiple years of preparation. And I can’t swim.”