The latest version of Forbes Magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americans includes five Indians who migrated to the US early in their careers. The US’s desi diaspora of techies, doctors and engineers is populated with Indian Americans who have built some of the country’s biggest companies, but these are the ones who made it big. Here’s who they are and how they did it.
1. Romesh T Wadhwani
Romesh T Wadhwani, founder and chairman of Symphony Technology Group, rose 12 places this year to come in at 222nd out of 400, with net worth of $3 billion. Wadhwani was born in present-day Pakistan and was just a few days old when his parents fled to India after the country underwent partition in 1947. He studied at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay and went to the US to pursue a Master's degree and PhD, before starting an industrial-controls company, said the magazine. Now his private-equity firm owns 17 technology, health care and analytics companies. Wadhwani ranked 67th of the 100 richest people in tech, joining the likes of Bill Gates and Amazon.com Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.
2. Bharat Desai and Neerja Sethi
Bharat Desai and Neerja Sethi, co-founders of IT consulting and outsourcing company Syntel Inc. came 274th in the list, six spots below their rank in 2015, with a net worth of $2.5 billion. Desai, who was born in Kenya and raised in India, met Sethi in the US while he was working as a programmer for IT firm Tata Consulting Services. Together the husband-and-wife duo started Syntel from their apartment in Troy, Michigan with an initial investment of just $2,000. The company gained $30,000 in sales during its first year and now generates $950 million in revenue with nearly 24,000 employees worldwide, said the magazine. Desai and Sethi jointly came 85th among the richest tech billionaires in the US this year.
3. Rakesh Gangwal
India-born Rakesh Gangwal, co-founder of InterGlobe Aviation - which runs India's largest airline IndiGo - made his debut entry at 321st place with a net worth of $2.4 billion. Gangwal started his airline career with United Airlines in 1984 after pursuing his mechanical-engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur and MBA from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Following a brief stint at Air France, he became chairman and chief executive of US Airways Group. In 2006, he co-founded IndiGo with his friend and billionaire Rahul Bhatia with just one aircraft. Today, he is based in Miami, Florida and owns 40 per cent of the company which went public in November 2015, it said. Gangwal featured at the 70th rank in the Forbes' list of India's richest people last year.
4. John Kapoor
John Kapoor, chairman of drug outfits Akorn Inc. and Insys Therapeutics Inc. got the 335th rank with a net worth of $2.1 billion. Kapoor was the first person in his family to go to college and travelled to the US to get his PhD in medicinal chemistry, the magazine said. Kapoor also owns the Roka Akor Japanese eateries in Chicago, Scottsdale and San Francisco, it said.
5. Kavitark Ram Shriram
India-born Kavitark Ram Shriram, a board member of Google parent Alphabet Inc. is 361st in Forbes' rankings. Shriram studied mathematics at the University of Madras before moving to the US to join Netscape in 1994 as an executive. He later became vice president of business development at Amazon.com Inc., after the company acquired Junglee, an online comparison shopping firm in 1998, according to the magazine. Since 2000, Shriram has been investing in technology startups through his firm, Sherpalo Ventures. His portfolio includes Paperless Post, an online card and invitation service; Optimizely, which provides web and mobile app testing; and Inmobi, a mobile advertising company, it said.
Source: The Wall Street Journal