Meet the five richest Indian Americans

The richest of the rich from the most affluent ethnic community in the United States.

AB Wire

The Indian American community has established itself as the wealthiest ethnic group in the United States, with an average per capita income of more than $100,000. To put that into perspective, on average Indian Americans make $15,000 more than Taiwanese Americans, who constitute the next richest ethnic-American group. Apart from the overall financial success of the community, individually a number of Indian Americans have also amassed extraordinary wealth, mainly through entrepreneurship and investments. Five Indian Americans figure on Forbes’s list of billionaires.

Here is the list of five richest Indian Americans:

5. Manoj Bhargava, Founder and CEO of Innovations Ventures LLC, 5-Hour Energy

Manoj Bhargava speaking at the AIF gala in New York on June 12, 2015. Photo credit: AIF
Manoj Bhargava speaking at the AIF gala in New York on June 12, 2015. Photo credit: AIF

Net worth: $1.5 billion (Forbes 2013 estimate)
Residence: Farmington Hills

A businessman and philanthropist, the Princeton University dropout is the founder and CEO of Ventures LLC, the company best known for producing the 5-Hour Energy drink.

Born in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India in 1953, Bhargava moved with his family to Philadelphia in 1967. After attending one year of college at Princeton, he returned to India and spent the next 12 years traveling between a group of communal monasteries owned by the Hanslok Ashram before returning to the United States and working for his parents’ manufacturing company.

In 2015, Bhargava joined the Giving Pledge campaign and vowed to give 99 percent of his net worth to charity. He also co-founded the Hans Foundation, a charitable trust fund that was created to provide a source of endowment for not-for-profit organizations in India.

4. Vinod Khosla, Founder, Khosla Ventures

Vinod-KhoslaNet worth:  $1.51 billion*

Residence: San Jose, CA

Khosla faced tumultuous highs and lows while working with various companies before finding major success founding his own venture capitalist firm, Khosla Ventures.

According to a report, Khosla’s interest in technology was triggered by a magazine report about the founding of Intel.

After completing his bachelor’s in electrical engineering at IIT Delhi, he failed to start a soy-milk company at age 20. Then he left for the U.S. to do a master’s in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Khosla acquired an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1980 and went on to work for an electronic design automation company, Daisy Systems. He cofounded Sun Microsystems in 1982 along with three friends. He served as its CEO and Chairman until 1984.
Khosla left Sun in 1984 to become a venture capitalist. Three years later, he would join the venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a general partner. He formed his own firm Khosla Ventures in 2004.

*Forbes Real Time Net Worth as of 6:30 pm EDT, 6/29/16

3. Kavitark Ram Shriram, Investor

Kavitark-Ram-ShriramNet worth: $1.85 billion*
Residence: Menlo Park, CA

Shriram accumulated much of his wealth by getting on at the ground floor and becoming one of the very first investors in Google.

The venture capitalist previously served under Jeff Bezos at He joined Amazon in 1998 when it acquired Junglee, an Indian online comparison shopping firm of which Shriram was president.

Born in India, Shriram studied math at the University of Madras before moving to the U.S. and joining Netscape as an executive in 1994, which then led to his stint at Junglee.

According to Forbes, in 2014 Shriram and his wife donated $61 million to engineering programs at Stanford University, where both of his daughters attended and he currently serves as a trustee.

*Forbes Real Time Net Worth as of 6:30 pm EDT, 6/29/16

2. Bharat Desai, Chairman, Syntel

Bharat Desai

Net worth: $2.6 billion*
Residence: Fisher Island, FL
The self-made billionaire partnered with his wife, Neerja, in 1980 to co-found his company, Syntel, with an initial investment of $2,000. The IT consulting and outsourcing firm has since grown to generate more than $900 million in revenue and employ a surplus of 24,500 employees around the world.

Born in Kenya and raised in India, Desai did his bachelor’s in electrical engineering at IIT Bombay. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1976 under the auspice of Indian multinational conglomerate Tata, which he worked for as a programmer.

Desai earned his MBA from the University of Michigan and is currently a board member for several institutions including the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

*Forbes Real Time Net Worth as of 6:30 pm EDT, 6/29/16

1. Romesh Wadhwani, Founder and Chairman, Symphony Technology Group

Net worth- $2.8 billion*
Residence: Palo Alto, CA
Aside from being the founder, chairman and CEO of Symphony Technology Group (STG), Wadhwani is also a leading philanthropist who additionally serves as Executive Chairman of Symphony Teleca Corporation, MSC Software Inc., Symphony Health Solutions Inc. and Shopzilla Inc.

Before establishing Symphony as a leading U.S. tech firm, Wadhwani was formerly the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Aspect Development, which he created in 1991. He sold the company in 2000 to i2 Technologies for a staggering $9.3 billion.

Currently a resident of Palo Alto, California, Wadhwani earned a degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay prior to garnering a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon.

The billionaire established the eponymous Wadhwani Foundation to fund entrepreneurship in India and plans on giving away much of his wealth in order to accelerate economic development in the emerging economies.

Notable initiatives in India include the National Entrepreneurship Network, which has established programs to enable growth-centric entrepreneurship at more than 500 institutions of higher education; the Skills College Network, which seeks to provide market-linked vocational education to young adults; and a research initiative pertaining to biosciences and biotechnology to stimulate job creation through innovation.

*Forbes Real Time Net Worth as of 6:30 pm EDT, 6/29/16

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