Two new faces in the Indian American billionaires’ club, which includes four IITeans and six engineers.
The 2018 Forbes list on world’s billionaires, topped by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has 10 Indian Americans, including two new faces: CEO and cofounder of Wayfair Niraj Shah and Arista Networks CEO Jayshree Ullal.
Of the 10, four were born in India (Rakesh Gangwal, Vinod Khosla, Kavitark Ram Shriram and John Kapoor); three were born in the United States (Brian Sheth, Shah and Aneel Bhusri); one in the present-day Pakistan (Romesh Wadhwani); one in England (Ullal) and one in Kenya (Bharat Desai).
Four Indian American billionaires are graduates of Indian Institutes of Technology (Gangwal, Wadhwani, Khosla and Desai) and six have degrees in engineering (Gangwal, Wadhwani, Khosla, Bhusri, Ullal and Desai.)
Here is the complete list:
Net worth: $ 3.3 billion
Rakesh Gangwal, co-founder of India’s biggest airline company IndiGo, is the richest Indian American. According to Forbes, the airline veteran has a net worth of $3.3 billion. Gangwal made his fortune from InterGlobe Aviation, the parent outfit of the Indian budget airline IndiGo.
Born in Kolkata, Gangwal earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. He came to the United States to do an MBA from Wharton.
Gangwal started his career with United Airlines in 1984 and went on to run the US Airways Group as its chief executive and chairman. He co-founded IndiGo in 2006, along with Rahul Bhatia. Gangwal holds more than a third of the shares in the company.
Currently, he lives in the exclusive Indian Creek Village, near Miami, in Florida.
Romesh T. Wadhwani
Net worth: $ 3.1 billion
Romesh Wadhwani, the founder and CEO of Symphony Technology Group, is the second richest Indian American, with a net worth of $3.1 billion. Symphony is a private equity firm that invests in technology companies.
Born in present-day Pakistan, Wadhwani and his family moved to India during the Partition of the subcontinent in 1947. He came to the United States after earning a BTech from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay to do a master’s and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
His first major break came in 1999, when a company he founded, Aspect Development, Inc., was sold to i2 Technologies for $9.3 billion.
Wadhwani, who is known for his philanthropic activities, sits on the boards of the Kennedy Center and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Net worth: $2.3 billion
A venture capitalist, Vinod Khosla invests in experimental technologies such as biomedicine and robotics through the Silicon Valley VC firm he founded, Khosla Ventures.
Born in Delhi, he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. After moving to the United States for higher education, in the 1970s, Khosla obtained a master’s in biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Khosla also cofounded computer hardware firm Sun Microsystems in 1982 with Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy, and Scott McNealy. He left the firm in the mid-1980s to become a venture capitalist.
Kavitark Ram Shriram
Net worth: $2.1 billion
Kavitark Ram Shriram, who has a net worth of $2.1 billion, is best-known for being an early investor in Google. Before betting on Google, he worked for Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder, who is currently the richest man in the universe.
Born in Chennai, India, Shriram came to the United States after earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the city’s Loyola College.
In 1994, he joined Netscape as an executive. Then he became the president of Junglee, which was later acquired by Amazon. In September 1998, when Google was incorporated, Shriram wrote a $250,000 check for the internet newbie, which would go on to revolutionize the way human race consumed information. (Bezos and also made a similar investment, along with two others, in the company.)
Shriram still remains on the board of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, despite having sold most of his stake.
In 2000, he launched the venture capital firm Sherpalo to invest in young technology startups.
Net worth: $2 billion
Investor Brian Niranjan Sheth, the youngest Indian American billionaire at 42, made his fortune by investing in several firms through his private equity and venture capital firm Vista Equity Partners. The Austin, Texas, -based Vista manages more than $30 billion of equity capital.
Born in Acton, Massachusetts, Sheth did his bachelor’s from Wharton. He worked at Bain Capital, Goldman Sachs, and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell before founding Vista.
He co-founded Vista in 2000 with Robert Smith for whom he worked at Goldman Sachs, when he was barely 24.
Sheth, who is passionate about conservation, runs a foundation, along with wife Adrian, that focuses on environment, among other issues.
Net worth: $1.8 billion
John Kapoor, who was born in Amritsar, India, owns roughly 70 percent of the shares of Insys Therapeutics, an opioid manufacturer. The year 2017 was not good for the entrepreneur, who was arrested for allegedly conspiring to bribe doctors to needlessly prescribe fentanyl spray Subsys. Nonetheless, his net worth increased by $100 million last year to top $1.8 billion. Following his arrest, he stepped down as chairman of the generic drug maker Akorn, in which he owns significant shares.
Kapoor came to the United States after earning a degree in pharmacy from Mumbai’s Institute of Chemical Technology. He obtained a PhD in medicinal chemistry from University at Buffalo in 1972. The same year, he joined Invenex Pharmaceutical in Grand Island, New York. He currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
Net worth: $1.6 billion
Niraj Shah, the co-founder and CEO of online home goods retailer Wayfair, is the second youngest Indian American billionaire. A newcomer to the billionaire’s club, he grew up in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where his father worked for General Electric. He cofounded Wayfair in 2002, along with his Cornell buddy Steve Conine. The company went public in October 2014. According to the Boston Globe, Wayfair has more than 5,200 employees. It has annual revenue of more than $ 3 billion.
Net worth: $1.6 billion
Aneel Bhusri made his fortunes from the business software company Workday. He co-founded the firm with Dave Duffield, the founder of PeopleSoft, after serving at that company for a long period and becoming the vice chairman.
Born in Pittsford, New York, he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Brown University and MBA from Stanford University. He started his career as a corporate finance analyst at Morgan Stanley.
Bhusri is a partner at the software investment fund Greylock Partners. He is also a member of the board of directors of Intel.
Net worth: $ 1.3 billion
Jayshree Ullal is the only Indian American woman on the Forbes billionaires club. She has been president and CEO of Arista Networks, a computer networking firm, since 2008. Ullal, who was born in London and raised in Delhi, is worth $1.41 billion. She is the second Indian American entrepreneur who made it to the Forbes list this year.
Ullal came to the United States in 1977, at age 16, to enroll at San Francisco State University. After earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, she obtained a master’s in engineering management from Santa Clara University.
Her first job was with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) in Santa Clara. Ullal’s first big break came when a company she was working for as a vice president, Crescendo Communications, was acquired by Cisco Systems in 1993. She would become the company’s Senior Vice President of Data Center & Switching.
Ullal joined Arista, then a four-year-old company, in 2008, as CEO & President. Within six years, she would take the company public.
Net worth: $1.1 billion
Bharat Desai co-founded Syntel, along with his wife, Neerja Sethi, from their apartment in 1980, as a software staffing company, with an investment of just $2,000. One of its early clients was General Motors. The Troy, Michigan, -based company now has more than 22,000 employees
Desai, who was born in Kenya and raised in India, earned a BTech in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. He came to the United States in 1976 to do an MBA in finance from University of Michigan.
Desai and Sethi currently live in Fisher Island, Florida.
10 Indian Americans on the Forbes billionaires list (March 6, 2018)