Seven Indian Americans have made it to the prestigious Forbes World’s Billionaires list for 2017, released on March 20 and featured more than 2,000 billionaires. The total combined net worth of this year’s billionaires was $7.67 trillion, up from $6.48 trillion last year. The 2,043 billionaires in 2017 is up from 1,810 in 2016, with an average net worth of $3.75 billion.
A total of 101 Indian-origin people made to the list, including Mukesh Ambani at No. 33 and $23.2 billion, Lakshmi Mittal at No. 56 and $16.4 billion, Azim Premji at No. 72 and $14.9 billion, and Dilip Shanghvi at No. 84 and $13.7 billion in the top 100 of the overall list.
Bill Gates of Microsoft fame was once again No. 1 on the list with a net worth of $86 billion. Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett with $75.6 billion, Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos with $72.8 billion, Spain-based Zara’s Amancio Ortega with $71.3 billion and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg with $56 billion rounded out the top five on the list.
Romesh Wadhwani, an Indian American who made his money in the software industry is valued at $3 billion, came in at No. 660. He is the chairman and CEO of Symphony Technology Group, a group of 18 data, technology, healthcare and analytics companies that together take in more than $2.8 billion in annual revenue.
Rakesh Gangwal was ranked at No. 973 with his $2.1 billion worth. The 63-year-old airline veteran made his fortune at InterGlobe Aviation, the parent company of his budget airline IndiGo, India’s largest by market share. The India-born mechanical engineer studied at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur before getting his M.B.A. at Wharton.
John Kapoor, with a value of $1.7 billion, was ranked No. 1,234 on the Forbes list. Kapoor came to the U.S. from India to get his doctorate in medicinal chemistry. He stepped down as CEO and chairman of opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics in January 2017. He remains chairman of Akorn, which specializes in “difficult-to-manufacture” prescription drugs. He also owns the Roka Akor Japanese eateries in Chicago, Scottsdale and San Francisco.
Vinod Khosla, who achieved his fortune through venture capitalism, ranks No. 1,290 with a net worth of $1.6 billion. Khosla has run his own venture capital firm, Khosla Ventures, since 2004,
Aneel Bhusri, the CEO and co-founder of Workday, with a net worth of $1.3 billion, following nearly two decades at VC firm Kleiner Perkins, is at No. 1,567 on the list. Bhusri notched up big returns at Greylock in 2007 when storage software outfit PolyServe sold to Hewlett-Packard for $200 million, and OutlookSoft was acquired by SAP.
Brian Sheth, of Austin, Texas, co-founded Vista Equity Partners in 2000 and is the firm’s president. Since then, Sheth has racked up a net worth of $1.1 billion and slides in at No. 1,795 on the list. Additionally, he helped boost his net worth by buying and fixing up a less-than glamorous collection of enterprise software companies.
Bharat Desai, at No. 1,940 on the list with a net worth of $1 billion, fell from the second-ranked Indian American a year ago — No. 688 and $2.6 billion net worth. Desai and his wife Neerja Sethi Desai founded IT consulting and outsourcing company Syntel in their apartment in Troy, Mich., in 1980. They turned it into a multi-million dollar operation.