Arora to Damera: Young promoters of start-ups enter India's rich list

Never heard of Nakul Aggarwal and Ritesh Arora, the promoters of IT services company BrowserStack? Nor of Jay Chaudhary, founder of Zscaler in San Jose, a cloud-delivered security as a service whose clients include Fortune 500 companies? Well, you may do so soon as they are among the promoters of start-ups and unicorns who feature in the IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List of 2020-21. Many start-ups have made it to the coveted list for the first time, their names jostling for space with the 200 richest business tycoons on the list. Many who were there earlier saw a huge upgrade in their ra.....
Never heard of Nakul Aggarwal and Ritesh Arora, the promoters of IT services company BrowserStack? Nor of Jay Chaudhary, founder of Zscaler in San Jose, a cloud-delivered security as a service whose clients include Fortune 500 companies? Well, you may do so soon as they are among the promoters of start-ups and unicorns who feature in the IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List of 2020-21.

Many start-ups have made it to the coveted list for the first time, their names jostling for space with the 200 richest business tycoons on the list. Many who were there earlier saw a huge upgrade in their ranking. Others set up companies abroad in the start-up space and hit the big time by becoming unicorns.

The pandemic has clearly changed the fortunes of edtech giant Byju’s. Its owners, the Raveendran family, saw its ranking shoot up from 504 in 2017 to 67 in 2021 as it hit $18 billion valuation. It has raised $3.2 billion in over 20 rounds and is cashing in on the clampdown on edtech companies in China, not to mention an initial public offer (IPO) planned for the next 12-18 months.

Among the unicorns entering the list for the first time, the most notable names are BrowserStack’s promoters.

Aggarwal and Arora saw their wealth hitting Rs 12,400 crore each. The company blazed its way to a ranking of 142, far ahead of many well-known and more established Indian start-up promoters. It raised $200 million in June and hit a valuation of $4 billion.

The others who have entered the list for the first time are Naveen Tewari of InMobi, an online ad tech platform which was the country’s first unicorn back in 2011 after Softbank put in $200 million. It is now going for a listing on the US bourses.

Also joining the list for the first time is Ashwin Damera, the promoter of edtech company Eruditus which recently raised over $650 million, pushing up its valuation four times to hit $3.2 billion.

And there is Vembu Sekar of Zoho, who has for the first time entered the top 100 list.  

But the big surprises are the names that few will have heard of at all in India. Little known here, Jay Chaudhry was born in a small village in the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh where there was no electricity and is now founder of Zscaler which he set up in 2008 in the US .

The company hit the unicorn list in 2015 and went public in 2018 and Chaudhry’s wealth has nearly doubled in a year to Rs 121,600 crore compared to a year ago. This puts him among the top ten richest Indians, ahead of Bajaj, Dilip Sanghvi, the Damanis and just a whisker away from the wealth of the Kumar Mangalam Birla family.

Open source software company Confluent, based in the US, has helped Neha Narkhede enter the coveted list with a wealth of Rs 12,200 crore and a ranking of 46 on the list. Of course, there are other promoters who have decided to take their company public. Falguni Nayar, founder of Nykaa, came in at the 201 slot with a fortune of Rs 8,700 crore.

Bhavish Aggarwal who took on Uber in the Indian market with Ola, had a tough time during the pandemic with restrictions in travel which impacted valuations. As a result, he is ranked 232 with a wealth of Rs 7,500 crore.

Oyo founder Ritesh Agarwal also faced the brunt of the pandemic and hotel closures, putting him at 260 on the list with a valuation of Rs 6,300 crore. Both Ola and Oyo want to go public.


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