Girish Gupta

Hi, I'm Girish! I'm from England and am currently in Europe before moving to the United States next year.

I’ve got a background in physics, two decades of full-stack programming experience and my investigative and multimedia reporting from Venezuela, the Americas and Middle East has been published by everyone from Reuters to the New Yorker. I have used strong analytical skills to do everything from solve differential equations and architect neural networks to demonstrate multi-billion dollar government corruption and stay safe amid conflict and violence. I enjoy playing music, photography, keeping fit and satiating my curiosity.

Please get in touch if you're keen to chat. I'm always open to meeting enthusiastic and interesting new people.


About me

I grew up in Slough, a town just outside London scoffed at by anyone who knows it for being both the setting for The Office and the subject of a 1937 poem which opens, "Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough! It isn’t fit for humans now." We lived in Chalvey, the part of Slough that people from Slough look down upon. Thankfully, when I was around nine years old, we got out.

I started teaching myself to code at eleven, assembling computers, writing software and building database-driven websites from scratch. A popular music site I created in my early teens was listed by MTV as one of the then nascent web’s top twenty sources. I received scores of free CDs from record companies while unwittingly honing skills as a programmer, reporter, writer and entrepreneur.

I was the first person in my family to go to university and began studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge though, not excited by the medieval city's social life, moved on to Manchester where I focused on Physics. My primary interests lie in spacetime, quantum mechanics and particles. However, my Master's project, the abstract to which was published, was more practical: a simulation of the heart to investigate atrial fibrillation.

Outside physics, I ran the news section of the student newspaper, learned drill and discipline in the Officers' Training Corps and went backpacking around South America—leading to a drug-filled Bolivian prison and a rare flesh-eating bug, leishmaniasis, which required three weeks on an intravenuous drip of sodium stibogluconate.

After graduating, I bought a one-way ticket to become a foreign correspondent. I was based primarily in Venezuela for nearly a decade where I produced groundbreaking investigations, covered daily clashes and reported on a humanitarian crisis. From Caracas, I traveled the world—often its most hostile environments including Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba and Mexico.

As a freelancer, I covered the cancer, election and death of Hugo Chávez, the messy transition to Nicolás Maduro’s rule and the crisis that followed, including daily violent unrest. I also investigated diamond smuggling from illegal jungle mines in the Amazon, Glencore profiting from a Colombian paramilitary massacre and, separately, the killing of wildcat gold miners there. For five years, I ran a sustainable business in a notoriously difficult industry, traveling all over the Americas and Middle East. I worked with some 40 news outlets—across text, photos, radio and television—and stood up to sloppy reporting, slow payments and unpaid work.

As a Senior Correspondent at Reuters covering Venezuela, I demonstrated—always with documents—high-level, multi-billion-dollar government corruption, military missile inventories, details of soldiers arrested for treason and rebellion, exaggeration of electoral results and that the country’s Chief Justice was arrested on suspicion of murder. My investigative work on Venezuela took me to the United States and all over Latin America. I also continued to cover the country's ever-worsening hyperinflation, social decay, food riots and protests. During my final few months there, I produced the in-country elements of a documentary on its downfall.

Alongside my reporting, I wrote web and mobile applications to provide live and historic data on Venezuela's dire economy. They were used by thousands of people including politicians, investors and journalists for everything from live black market exchange rate fluctuations to details of the brisk money-printing that fueled the world's highest inflation. I also wrote code to automate data acquisition, simple story-writing and other mind-numbing tasks that pull resources from reporting.

However, I left journalism and expanded the Venezuela Econ platform into a company, Data Drum, which offered automated, clean and elegant global macroeconomic data for half a dozen countries. I worked tirelessly on a meticulous product but never quite found its market.

I then spent just over a year in Mumbai where I built a data science unit at a public policy non-profit. I also created smaller-scale products of my own—GlobalOTP, Readwise2Roam and According To Documents. Now, as Chief Technology Officer at Stanford-conceived, Google-funded startup, I’m building a machine learning algorithm to identify quality journalism at scale.

Photo: Oil wells set ablaze by Islamic State before fleeing Qayyara, Iraq. January, 2017.