As expected, Bharat Desai, John Kapoor, Ramesh Wadhwani, Ram Shriram, and
Vinod Khosla have either technology backgrounds or play in technology.
Specifically, Desai (IIT Bombay), Wadhwani (IIT Bombay) and Khosla (IIT Kharagpur) are Indian Institute of
Technology graduates and are committed to improve those institutions and create entrepreneurs (not just technology officers).
The Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay) in
Powai (Mumbai) received quite a windfall recently when billionaire alumnus
Bharat Desai, chairman of US-based company Syntel, donated $1 million to
his alma mater. The money will go toward starting a robust
entrepreneurship centre so that many more technicians come out as
entrepreneurs rather than just as degree-holders.
Five Indian-Americans have been named among the 400 richest people in
the US by Forbes, a list topped by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for
the 21st year in a row with a net worth of USD 81 billion.
Founder of outsourcing firm Syntel Bharat Desai, entrepreneur John
Kapoor, Symphony Technology founder Romesh Wadhwani, Silicon Valley
angel investor Kavitark Ram Shriram and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla
are among The Richest People In America 2014 list by Forbes.
Forbes said 2014 was another record year for American wealth, when the
aggregate net worth of the richest 400 Americans was USD 2.29 trillion,
up USD 270 billion from a year ago.
“Thanks to a buoyant stock market, the richest people in the US just keep getting richer,” Forbes said.
Gates is the richest American for the 21st year in a row, with a net
worth of US 81 billion. The Microsoft chairman’s stake in the software
company he cofounded accounts for just under 20 per cent of his total
net worth. His friend Warren Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire
Hathaway, occupies the number two spot on the 400, a rank he has held
since 2001 with a net worth of USD 67 billion.
Larry Ellison, who just announced that he was giving up the CEO role at
Oracle, the software firm he founded, comes in at number three, with a
net worth of 50 billion dollars.
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now the 11th richest
person in the US, and the biggest dollar gainer on the list. His fortune
soared to USD 34 billion, up USD 15 billion since last year, due to a
sharp rise in the price of the social network’s shares.
Desai and his family rank 255 on the list, followed by Kapoor who is ranked 261, Wadhwani (264), Shriram (350) and Khosla (381).
Desai, 61, and wife Neerja Sethi founded outsourcing firm Syntel in 1980
while studying at University of Michigan. The Indian Institute of
Technology alumnus has a networth of USD 2.5 billion.
Kapoor, 71, debuts on The Forbes 400 as a serial entrepreneur who has
founded two pharmaceutical companies that he has guided to exceptional
The bulk of his wealth is concentrated in shares of Akorn
Pharmaceuticals, an Illinois-based generics manufacturer that Kapoor has
been involved with since the early 1990s, and INSYS Therapeutics, a
cancer-treatment maker that went public in May 2013. Kapoor, whose net worth is USD 2.5 billion, also has a small chain of
fast-casual Indian restaurants in Arizona called Bombay Spice, as well
as Roka Akor Japanese eateries in Chicago, Scottsdale and San Francisco.
Wadhwani, 67, an Indian Institute of Technology Bombay alumnus has a net
worth of USD 2.5 billion. Forbes said over the last decade, his galaxy
of companies has expanded to 20 and is generating three billion dollars
in revenues with 18,000 employees worldwide.
He is the recipient of the 2013 Forbes India ‘Non-Resident
Philanthropist Award’ and sits on the boards of the Kennedy Center and
the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Wadhwani signed Bill
Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge last year.
Shriram, 57, has a net worth of USD 1.87 billion. He was an early Google
backer and has been a Silicon Valley angel investor since 2000. Through
his Sherpalo Ventures, he has backed early-stage tech firms such as
Zazzle and Paperless Post, as well as the frozen yogurt retailer
Shriram made most of his fortune through Google and has been on its
board since the company was founded in 1998. In June 2014, Shriram and
his wife donated $61 million to engineering initiatives at Stanford
University, which both of his daughters attended and where he is a board
Khosla, 59, has a net worth of USD 1.67 Billion and has run his own
venture capital firm, Khosla Ventures, since 2004, following nearly two
decades at VC firm Kleiner Perkins. His highest-profile investments have
lately been in clean tech: wood-based biofuel, new types of batteries
and water purification.
All together, the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a staggering USD 2.29 trillion, up USD 270 billion from a year ago.
The average net worth of list members is USD 5.7 billion, USD 700
million more than last year and a record high. An impressive 303 of the
400 saw the value of their fortunes rise compared to a year ago. Only 36
people from last year’s list had lower net worths this year.
The list has 27 newcomers including Elizabeth Holmes the youngest woman
on the list, and the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world.
Just 30 years old, the Stanford University dropout has built blood
testing company Theranos into a firm that venture capitalists have
valued at USD 9 billion.