Wipro Chairman Azim Premji and HCL founder Shiv Nadar are the only two Indian tycoons in the top 20 richest people in the world of technology, according to an inaugural list by Forbes that has been topped by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Premji is ranked 13th on Forbes’ first ever list of ‘100 Richest People In Tech’, followed by Nadar on the 14th spot.
Two Indian-origin technology czars Romesh Wadhwani and Bharat Desai are also in the list. Forbes said Premji, 70, who has a net worth of USD 17.4 billion, is among Asia’s most generous tycoons, having given away more than USD four billion of his fortune. Nadar has a net worth of USD 14.4 billion and gets bulk of his wealth from software services outfit HCL Technologies.
Wadhwani is ranked 73rd on the list with a USD 2.8 billion net worth. The 67-year-old IIT-alumnus is CEO and Chairman of Symphony Technology Group, a collection of 20 companies spanning big data, analytics and software with combined annual revenue of three billion dollars. In July 2015, he announced plans to commit up to USD one billion to the Wadhwani Foundations to fund entrepreneurship in India; he did not provide a timetable for the funding.
Desai and family have been ranked 82nd with a net worth of USD 2.5 billion. The 62-year-old and his wife Neerja founded IT consulting and outsourcing company Syntel in 1980 out of their apartment in Michigan. American billionaires dominate the list occupying 51 slots. Tech barons from Asia made a strong showing as well, with 33 people hailing from that region.
Eight people from Europe made the cut – a minimum net worth USD 2 billion — as did two from the Middle East and one from Latin America. Forty of the 100 live in California. Gates, who’s the world’s richest man, ranks number one among tech tycoons, with a net worth of USD 79.6 billion. Number two on the list is Ellison with a net worth estimated at USD 50 billion.
Ellison ceded the CEO spot at Oracle last year to two co-CEOs, Safra Catz and Mark Hurd, but still serves as Oracle’s chairman and chief technology officer. Oracle is finding it harder to grow as a company; revenues for the year that ended in May were down slightly from the previous year to USD 38.2 billion, Forbes said. The third richest on the list is Jeff Bezos, whose net worth shot up dramatically in July after Amazon.com surprised analysts and reported a rare profit for its second quarter.
The list includes Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg at rank 4, followed by Google co-founder Larry Page at 5, Alibaba chief Jack Ma (7), Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (20), Uber CEO Travis Kalanick (35) and Square CEO Jack Dorsey (92). In total, the world’s 100 richest tech billionaires are worth USD 842.9 billion. The list has only seven women, the wealthiest of whom is Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple’s late chief Steve Jobs, with an estimated net worth of 21.4 billion dollars.
The average age of the group is 53, which is a decade younger than the average age of all billionaires; 15 of the 100 are under age 40.