Entrepreneurs Neerja Sethi, Jayshree Ullal in Forbes’ list of richest self-made women in America

Sethi is a billionaire.
By Sreekanth A. Nair

Jayshree Ullal
Jayshree Ullal

Two Indian-origin entrepreneurs are featured on a new Forbes’ list of America’s richest self-made women. The list includes 60 trailblazers – 10 more than last year– who have crashed ceilings through invention and innovation.

Neerja Sethi, 61, the vice president of corporate affairs of Syntel, an IT consulting and outsourcing firm co-founded by Sethi and her husband Bharat Desai, is ranked 16 on the list.

Jayshree Ullal, the president and CEO of Arista Networks, a network switch company, is ranked 30.

Sethi is worth $1.1 billion. Sethi and her husband Bharat Desai started Syntel in 1980. According to Forbes, the company that brought in only $30,000 in revenue has a market cap of $3.6 billion today and employs 25,000 people.

Born in India, Sethi holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics, a master’s degree in computer science, and an MBA in operations research. She was ranked 14 in 2015 on the list.

Born in London, raised in New Delhi, Ullal, 55, became president and CEO of Arista Networks in 2008, when it had no revenue and fewer than 50 employees. The company reported $838 million in revenue in 2015, after going public in June 2014, reported Forbes.

“She took slightly more than an engineering team doing some good technology and turned it into the thriving network switch company it is today,” says Arista co-founder David Cheriton.

With a net worth of $470 million, Ullal maintained her rank of 30 on the list of richest American self-made women.

Diane Hendricks, the owner of ABC Supply, is the richest self-made woman in America. The owner of the largest wholesale distributor of roofing and siding in the country has a net worth of $4.9 billion. She was ranked second last year when her net worth was $1.2 billion lower.

According to Forbes, “these women, who are worth a combined $53 billion, have created some of the nation’s best-known brands, such as Gap, Spanx, Proactiv and Vera Bradley.”

“A number of them have also helped build some of the most successful companies in tech, including Facebook, eBay, and Google, while still others got rich entertaining millions through their music, books or TV shows,” the report said.

The list also includes prominent figures such as Oprah Winfrey, pop icon Taylor Swift, actress-turned-entrepreneur Jessica Alba , Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, designer Tory Burch, singer Madonna, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer , singer Celine Dion and pop icon Beyonce.

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