Of India’s 100 billionaires 8 are tech moguls. Here’s an in-depth look at who made the cut.
In post-independence India, the Tatas, Birlas, and Ambanis were the super rich with their big, diversified, family-owned businesses. The advent of the IT revolution in the nineties and emergence of India as the backoffice of the world brought in a new breed led by Azim Premji, Shiv Nadar, and NR Narayana Murthy of Wipro, HCL, and Infosys.
This year, for the first time, two of India’s tech startup heroes – Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal, co-founders of e-commerce leader Flipkart – make the cut. In a list of the top 100 billionaires of India put out by Forbes, there are eight tech moguls from India. Here they are, in descending order of billions in net worth:
Azim Premji of Wipro
Net worth: $15.9 billion
Azim Premji is the founder of IT services company Wipro, one of India’s largest publicly-traded companies. He is third on the overall list of Indian billionaires. Wipro’s market capitalization is around $35 billion, making it the seventh largest IT services firm in the world. Azim Premji took over the reins of the company after his father’s death in 1966. A 21-year-old then, he was a student at Stanford University in the U.S. He pivoted the company towards IT and computing in the late seventies. Today, Wipro also has a $100 million venture capital fund. Azim Premji’s son Rishad heads it.
Net worth: $12.9 billion
Shiv Nadar is the co-founder of the HCL Group, which owns IT firm HCL Technologies. A publicly-traded IT services company, HCL Technologies has a market capitalization of $22.1 billion. Recently, Shiv Nadar co-founded a $500 million fund for startups and healthcare tech companies. He stands sixth on the list of Indian billionaires.
N. R. Narayana Murthy
Net worth: $1.9 billion
N. R. Narayana Murthy co-founded IT services company Infosys with six friends in 1981. The market capitalisation of Infosys is around $42.51 billion, making it India’s sixth largest publicly-traded company. For his contribution to IT outsourcing in India, Time magazine dubbed him the ‘Father of the Indian IT sector.’ Murthy stands on the 53rd rung of the billionaires ladder. He also backs startups through his private investment firm, Catamaran Ventures.
Net worth: $1.7 billion
S. Gopalakrishnan is better known as Kris Gopalakrishnan. He is one of seven co-founders of Infosys. Recently, he launched Axilor Ventures, a business incubator to back startups, along with Infosys co-founder S. D. Shibulal. So far, Axilor has invested in ten startups. E-commerce, healthcare & life-sciences, and clean-tech are the three broad sectors that Axilor focuses on. Kris is 67th on the billionaires list.
Net worth: $1.6 billion
Nandan Nilekani is the third Infosys co-founder on this billionaire list, ranking at number 69. After he retired from Infosys, Nandan headed the Indian government’s technology committee and was the chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Last year, he contested in the Lok Sabha election but lost by 228,575 votes. He also likes to invest in startups and recently made a personal bet in prepaid mobile account tracker Mubble.
Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal
Net worth: $1.3 billion each
Binny Bansal, 32 years old, and Sachin Bansal, 34 years old, are the youngest on the top 100 billionaires list. The duo co-founded Flipkart in October 2007 as an online bookstore. Two years later, the startup raised its first tranche of institutional venture capital from Accel Partners, who pumped in $1 million. Since then, there’s been no looking back for Flipkart, which is valued at $15 billion. The Bansals of Flipkart are 86th on the list.
Net worth: $1.2 billion
K. Dinesh is yet another Infosys co-founder. He served in various project management capacities and was responsible for worldwide software development efforts for Infosys. From 1981 to 1990, he managed projects for Infosys in the U.S. Dinesh and wife Asha have funded a cancer center at the Narayana Health Hospital in Mysore.
This post was originally published on Tech in Asia.
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