In the recent years, tech has been one of the most important topics being talked about. Wherever you look, new innovations like wearable devices or cutting edge smartphones pepper the landscape. Every sphere, including Auto and Medicine, are cashing in on new thoughts and innovations. And some of the best known have come from Indian minds. While the list is long, here are some of the most important Indian tech entrepreneurs who have made an impact on the global tech landscape:
Amar Bose: The founder and chairman of Bose Corp, Amar Bose passed away earlier this month. A graduate student from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Bose was associated with the premiere tech school through his life. As a PhD student, and later as a professor and then professor emeritus, the idea of Bose Corp, set up in 1964, stemmed from his disappointment with the speakers in a stereo system that he bought as an MIT student that was the trigger for setting up Bose Corp in 1964. Bose Corp has, over the years, used the entrepreneur’s innovative research for some of the best known sound systems in the world. Furthering his company’s thought process, the entrepreneur was involved with many of the products that were seen in Bose’s stable, which included noise-canceling headphones as well as audio systems for cars.
Amar Bose, founder of Bose, who passed away earlier this month.
Ram Shriram: One of the earlier Founding Director and Board member at Google, his name may not be as well known as some of the others which are synonym with the search giant. Preferring to let his work speak for him, in the past, the angel investor has been involved with Web giants like Amazon and Netscape as well. With the other two companies, Shriram was the core member of the top management team. With Google, his involvement was even more crucial. Looking back in time, it was Shriram who signed a check for half a million dollars to the two Google founders, in the years when the company name itself was not settled, and no one really knew what a search engine was all about. Apart from this considerable body of work, Shriram has also served on the boards of well-known Internet ventures like StumbleUpon, Zazzle and PaperlessPost.com.
Ram Shriram, Founding Director and Board member at Google (Image credit:stanford)
Vinod Khosla: Coming from a simple background, Khosla is was one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems, where he served as its first CEO and Chairman in the early 80s. Later that decade, Khosla switched sides by taking up a general partnership at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where he stayed for over a decade. In 2004, Khosla took up a new venture, Khosla Ventures, which focuses on investment in various technology sectors, with the most amount of focus based on clean technology. A stalwart supporter of clean energy, Khosla has famously been quoted saying that "If it doesn't scale, it doesn't matter. Most of what we talk about today—hybrid, biodiesel, ethanol, solar photovoltaics, geothermal—I believe are irrelevant to the scale of the problem." Known for his passion for entrepreneurship, his greatest passion is being a mentor for other innovators who want to build technology based businesses. Khosla has also served as a board member of a number of the companies like EASIC, which deals with the programmable ASIC platform, Infinera, which deals with optical communications and Kovio, dealing with printed electronics among others.
Vinod Khosla, one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems. (Image credit:businessweek)
Sabeer Bhatia: Best known as the founder of e-mail service Hotmail, Bhatia’s e-mail service currently has over 369 million registered users. This is a huge achievement, because the only other e-mail service to outpace that number is Gmail. Born in 1968, the future entrepreneur earned a Bachelor degree at the Californa Institute of Technology in 1988 after a foreign transfer from BITS Pilani, Rajasthan. He also chalked up an electrical engineering from the Stanford University on the way. As President and CEO, Bhatia guided Hotmail's meteoric rise in the industry, culminating in an eventual acquisition by Microsoft in 1998. After working in Microsoft for a little over a year, Bhatia took his leave to start another venture, Arzoo, which is an e-commerce firm. Apart from Hotmail, Bhatia has also started a free messaging service called JaxtrSMS. While claiming that Jaxtr will do to SMS’s what Hotmail did to e-mails, so far the service has failed to have the kind of impact that Hotmail boasted back in the day.
Sabeer Bhatia and Yogesh Patel while introducing JaxtrSMS in 2011
NP Narayana Murthy: The newly re-appointed Executive Chairman of IT major Infosys, Murthy is an Indian businessman who co-founded the multinational corporation which deals with business consulting, technology, engineering and outsourcing services. Time magazine named him as the Father of the Indian IT sector, and over the years Murthy has raked in quite a few prestigious awards. While Infosys remains his biggest contribution, his first company was called Softronics, which was an IT consulting firm that Murthy founded in Pune in 1976. After Infosys’ fall from grace as the premiere example of Indian information technology, Murthy has now been brought back to regain some of its shine. The challenge ahead of this tech entrepreneur is to come up with a new business model for the multinational, which can do as well as the earlier one, for safe and stable results.
NP Narayana Murthy, re-appointed Executive Chairman of Infosys (Image credit:today.brown)
Arjun Malhotra: He is the co-founder of Hindustan Computer Ltd (HCL), which he started up with five other friends back in 1975. Twenty-three years later, Malhotra took his leave to start up Techspan, which was funded by Goldman Sachs and Walden International. Soon after, the entrepreneur led the merger of Techspan with Headstrong, which is a global consultancy firm where he served as the Chairman and CEO. Currently recognised as one of the fastest-growing IT-based Financial Services companies Headstrong was sold by Malhotra to Genpact in 2011.
Arjun Malhotra, co-founder of Hindustan Computer Ltd. (Image credit:entrepreneurIndia)
Apart from serving as an advisory for some companies, Malhotra is currently serving on the Boards of a number of educational organisations including the IIT Kharagpur Foundation, the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Udaipur, as well as the Advisory Board of Centre of Emerging & Neglected Diseases in the University of California (CEND UC), Berkley.