How This Engineering Dropout Helps Indian Techies Scale Silicon Valley Heights

In a twist of fate, Andrew Linfoot, once a startup enthusiast from San Francisco, found himself boarding a plane to Bangkok after his venture collapsed. With just a laptop and his software engineering skills, he wasn’t particularly worried about his finances.

Fast forward to a co-working space in Delhi, where he met young Ayush Jaiswal, a local tech wizard. Born in Varanasi, Ayush went on to study engineering in Delhi but dropped out soon after. Ayush discontinued his engineering course after six months in college and formally withdrew a year later.

The two visionaries’ disappointment regarding the vast wage gap between Indian and US engineers led to an intriguing experiment: Could they hire and train Indian engineers to produce Silicon Valley-level code at a fraction of the cost?

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What to know? Turns out, they could. After rigorous training, these engineers began delivering top-tier work. But Andrew and Ayush weren’t content with just that. They realised that while their business thrived on the wage disparity, it wasn’t fair to the engineers who were doing the same quality of work as their American counterparts but for a fraction of the pay.

Enter Pesto, their brainchild. Instead of merely hiring engineers, Pesto aimed to train them and connect them directly to US companies. The catch? The engineers would repay through a small percentage of their lucrative future salaries. This model not only promised Indian engineers a shot at international salaries but also provided US companies with top-notch talent without the logistical nightmares.

Fast forward to 2023, and Linfoot has left Pesto to start his own venture. However, Swiggy co-founder Rahul Jamini, known for establishing Swiggy’s technology backbone, has taken his place. In fact, some of Pesto’s current backers include Product Hunt founder Ryan Hoover, former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, Gumroad CEO Sahil Lavingia, Nira co-founder Hiten Shah, Teachable founder Ankur Nagpal, Startup Grind founder Derek Anderson, Matrix Partners, and many others.

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