Five Indian-Origin Billionaires Named in Forbes’ List of Richest Americans

The Forbes' 2018 list of 400 richest Americans features five Indian American billionaires, with Romesh T. Wadhwani emerging at the top.


Five Indian Americans figure in Forbes magazine’s recently-released list of the 400 richest Americans. The Indian-origin billionaires moved to the United States early in their careers and have made a mark in the country as successful businessmen.

Of all the Indian Americans who made it to the list, four are part of the technology industry while one made his riches in the airline business.

The list of Indian Americans is topped by Romesh T. Wadhwani, followed by Rakesh Gangwal, Vinod Khosla, Kavitark Ram Shriram, and Niraj Shah.

Wadhwani, the founder of Symphony Technology Group is ranked 271, with a net worth of $3 billion. The 70-year-old businessman was born in Pakistan and moved with his family to India during Partition. He earned a B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and earned his masters and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. In 1999, he sold his company Aspect Development Inc., to i2 technologies for $9.3 billion.

Kolkata-born Rakesh Gangwal, 64, is at No. 354 with a net worth of $2.3 billion. The airline veteran is the co-founder of InterGlobe Aviation, which owns IndiGo Airlines, India’s largest low-cost private carrier.

Gangwal earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and did an MBA from Wharton before landing a job with the United Airlines in 1984. He later went on to become the CEO and Chairman of the US Airways Group. He co-founded IndiGo in 2006, along with Rahul Bhatia, who is also in the Forbes India billionaires list.

Until earlier this year, Gangwal was the richest Indian American in the United States, with $3.3 billion, but since March his wealth has dropped by $1 billion due to the falling share prices at Indigo.

With a net worth of $2.2 billion, Vinod Khosla is the third richest Indian American in the list. The 63-year-old Delhi-born venture capitalist is ranked 368. Khosla, who co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982, is an active and prolific venture capitalist and invests in new technologies like biomedicine and robotics through his Silicon Valley VC firm Khosla Ventures.

Khosla earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He moved to the United States in the 1970s and graduated with a biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Next on the list is Kavitark Ram Shriram, who is at No. 368 with a net worth of $2.2 billion. The Chennai-born mathematics graduate is known for spotting companies in their start-up stages itself and is best known for being one of the earliest financial backers of Google. He started his career with Netscape in 1994 and later became the president of Junglee, which was later acquired by Amazon. With this acquisition, he worked for a brief while with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. In 1998, when Google was a still a startup, Shriram invested $250,000 in the company.

He is still on the board of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

Placed at No. 368, Massachusetts-raised and Cornell-educated Niraj Shah, the CEO of Wayfair, is the fifth richest Indian American, with $2.2 billion. Shah, 44, is also one of the youngest billionaires on the list. He co-founded online home goods retailer Wayfair in 2002, which went public in 2014. Since March, his wealth has increased by $600 million.

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