Inspiring Success Stories of NRI Billionaires

Inspiring Success Stories of NRI Billionaires

Hard work can pave the path to great achievements in life and none more than our Indian diaspora including Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) is an example of this. Having relocated to foreign lands, many NRIs and OCIs have worked hard to build an esteemed career and become a leading example in their country of residence. These careers have been rewarded with great fortune at times and we today look at five such NRIs who have made the Indian name proud across the globe and built great wealth. Let’s take a look at the inspiring success stories of these NRI billionaires in this blog. 

Also read: The 10 Richest NRIs in the World 2023

5 NRIs Billionaires and How They Achieved Success Abroad

1. Sundar Pichai

  • Profile: CEO of Alphabt and Google 
  • Net Worth: $1.66 billion 
  • Awards and Recognition: Padma Bhusan (India’s 3rd Highest Civilian Award) 

When it comes to the NRI story, there’s one story that inspires everyone in India, and it’s about the journey of Sundar Pichai. Born on 10 June 1972 in Madurai, a city in Tamil Nadu, India, he did most of his schooling from Jawahar Vidyalaya, a CBSE-affiliated school in Chennai, and completed his 12th grade from Vana Vani School. 

He then appeared and completed his degree in metallurgical engineering from IIT, Kharagpur, Kolkata. Being famed for his hard work and meticulous skillset, soon he was able to get admission to the prestigious Stanford University for his Master’s in Material Science and Engineering. He further went on to complete his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. 

His professional career started with a foray as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. Later in 2004, he joined Google leading the innovation for some of the most successful Google client software products like Google Chrome, Chrome OS, Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Maps. He was instrumental in managing Android into Google ecosystem and became the CEO of Google in 2015 and Alphabet in 2019. With a net worth of $1.66 billion, he’s one of the NRI billionaires in the world.

Also read: Is India’s GDP $4 Trillion Already? Not yet, But it’s Closer Than Ever

2. Vinod Shantilal Adani

  • Profile: Businessman 
  • Net Worth: $24.28 billion

The story of Vinod Shantilal Adani has always been talked about. Born to a Jain family on 24th July 1962 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat to a family of small textile merchants, he developed an interest in the business field right from his early childhood. He completed his masters in the USA and later started his own business in 1976 by setting up power looms in Bhicandi, Mumbai, and named it V.R. Textile. 

In 1989 he expanded his business empire internationally by opening an office in Singapore. He also moved to Singapore to work on the expansion of his business where he was responsible for trading operations. During this growth spurt, he started his expansion into the Gulf region by first setting up an office in Dubai in 1994 and then across other Middle Eastern countries.

He was named the richest NRI in 2022 as per the Hurun India Rich List, and the sixth-richest Indian and also one of the NRI Billionaires with a net worth of $24.28 billion. However, he currently holds the citizenship of Cyprus. His younger brother Gautam Adani is another famed businessman and one of the richest Indians. 

3. Jay Chaudhry

  • Profile: CEO, Chairman and Founder of Zscaler 
  • Net Worth: $11 billion
  • Awards and Recognition: American India Foundation’s Corporate Leadership Award (2022)

A story of resilience and the ability to muster the courage to achieve success. Yes, that’s what Jay Chaudhry’s story resembles. Born on August 26, 1958 to small-scale farmers in Panoh, a village located near Una of Himachal with a population of just 800 people, he strived hard to fulfill his dream and today stands as one of the top entrepreneurs in the world. He is the founder and CEO of the cloud security company Zscaler. 

Jay Chaudhry completed his schooling till 10th grade in his village. The major hardship was the lack of running water or electricity in his village. He had to walk 4km to attend his high school in a nearby village. Having completed his initial education, he went to the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University for his Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering. He further pursued his post-graduation from the University of Cincinnati in Industrial Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Marketing. 

His professional career began with working in various roles across top organizations before co-founding five security software companies. He built Zscaler 2007, a zero-trust cloud security company. His entrepreneurial journey resembles his staunch focus on learning and building on top of it. He claims the skillset and experience he learned working for companies like IBM, Unisys and NCR helped him narrow down his focus in building Zscaler. His net worth is valued at $11 billion and he is one of the richest NRI billionaires in the world.

4. Rakesh Gangwal

  • Profile: Co-founder of Indigo Airlines  
  • Net Worth: $5.3 billion

Rakesh Gangwal, the man who helped reshape the Indian airline industry is one of the names to reckon with when it comes to NRIs who have built a name for themselves. Born on 25th July 1952 in Kolkata, West Bengal, he completed his schooling at Don Bosco School before pursuing his graduation in Mechanical Engineering from IIT, Kanpur. He went on to complete his MBA from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. 

He started his professional career in 1980 as an associate with Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc. He later on joined United Airlines and held the role of manager for strategic planning before going to helm multiple positions and climbing up the ladder. His association with the airline industry began in September 1980, when, as an associate of Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., he worked closely with United Airlines. In 1984, Gangwal joined United Airlines as the manager for strategic planning. He held a series of positions at United Airlines and later on became the CEO and Chairman of US Airways Group. He also held the position of Chairman, President, and CEO of Worldspan Technologies from June 2003 to August 2007. 

He founded Indigo Airlines with Rahul Bhatia in 2006 and led the company to become the largest fleet-size airline of India. His journey with Indigo Airlines is an inspiration to every entrepreneur, the story of making do with things at hand and creating an empire out of it. What’s astonishing about this entire journey is that Indio Airlines started with just one single fleet. Amazing, isn’t it? 

He holds a 25.2% stake in Indigo Airlines. However, he has already resigned from the company board in 2022 and intends to sell his stake over the next upcoming years. He currently is based out of Maimi, USA, and has a total net worth of $5.3 billion.  

Also read: India Solidifies Its Position as the Most Preferred Emerging Market: Morgan Stanley

5. Vinod Khosla

  • Profile: Co-founder of Sun Microsystems & Founder of Khosla Ventures
  • Net Worth: $7.8 billion

Vinod Khosla, an Indian-American entrepreneur and venture capitalist is another inspiring NRI personality. Born to a Punjabi family on 28 January 1955 in Pune, he did his schooling at Mount St. Mary’s School for Elementary School. He then pursued a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from IIT Delhi. He was the first person to start a computer club in any of the IITs across India. 

He received a full scholarship from Carnegie Mellon University for a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. He also applied for the MBA program at Stanford University but was rejected due to a lack of work experience. As a result, he enrolled at Carnegie Mellon again for the MBA program. However, in just three weeks of his master’s program, he convinced the staff at Stanford to get himself accepted at Stanford Graduate School of Business for his MBA program. 

He preferred the path of entrepreneurship rather than employment after his MBA and started Daisy Systems as a full time founder and Chief Financial Officer. He then left the company and started Data Dump in 1981 with a former classmate from Stanford. Data Dump couldn’t perform and hence he co-founded Sun Microsystems in 1982 with Scott McNealy and Andy Bechtolsheim. He served as the first chairman and CEO of Sun Microsystems. Later on Bill Joy, a UC Berkeley graduate joined the company. The company made $1 billion in just five years of its start. 

He later left the company and founded Khosla Ventures, a VC firm based out of Silicon Valley. His firm invests in technologies like biomedicine and robotics. He is currently based out of the United States and was listed as 92nd on the Forbes 400 list with a net worth of $7.8 billion. He is one of the NRI billionaires.  

Also read: Top 5 Reasons to Invest in India Now

Wrapping Up

These amazing people show us that if we’re passionate, work hard, and never give up, we can achieve anything. Their stories of success not only show how strong people can be but also inspire others who want to start their own businesses or follow their dreams. NRIs are making a big impact around the world, and their journeys remind us to aim high, put in the effort, and never forget our dreams, regardless of our background.

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Who is the 1 richest person in India in 2023?

  • Mukesh Ambani is the richest Indian in 2023 after surging past Gautam Adani this year. Mukesh Ambani’s wealth grew by 2% to Rs 8,08,700 Cr while second-placed Gautam Adani has an overall wealth of Rs 4,74,500 Cr. 

Who is the richest person in the world in 2023?

  • Elon Musk is the richest person in the world in 2023 with a net worth of $246.1 Billion while Bernard Arnault & family is in second place with a net worth of $191.9 Billion.

Is Gautam Adani the richest man in India?

  • No, Mukesh Ambani is the richest Indian in 2023 after surging past Gautam Adani this year. Mukesh Ambani’s wealth grew by 2% to Rs 8,08,700 Cr while second-placed Gautam Adani has an overall wealth of Rs 4,74,500 Cr. 

Can NRIs invest in India to grow wealth?

  • With some restrictions, investment opportunities for non-resident Indians (NRIs) are more or less similar to those for resident Indians, provided they follow guidelines set by the RBI, FEMA, and SEBI, and laws enacted by the country of their residence. You can find more about different NRI investment options in this blog.

Who is the richest NRI residing in the US?

  • Jay Chaudhry is the richest NRI and one of the NRI billionaires resident in the US, with a net worth of $11 billion.

How many NRI Billionaires are there in the world?

  • In the recent 360 ONE Wealth Hurun India List for 2023 listing the richest Indian people in India and abroad, 96 out of 360 are NRIs. Most importantly, out of these 96, many are NRI billionaires
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