From rags to riches, and/or obscurity to fame – Meet the New Indian Billionaires! Know their inspiring stories…

Qimat Rai Gupta ~ From A College Drop Out to Billionaire

When a college drop out turned small trader (in electrical products) bought a brand from a Delhi trader back in 1971, it didn’t seem like much. There were no buildings or other assets that came with it. Slowly, the businessman started selling switchgear, cables, lights and fans in rural India. In 2007, he acquired Germany-based Sylvania Lighting and successfully turned around the company.  

qimat rai gupta billionaire india forbes havells The New Indian Billionaires

His company at present provides mid-day meals to 50,000 students in government schools in Alwar district in Rajasthan. Today the same drop out Qimat Rai Gupta have entered the billionaire club for first time (Number 48 with $ 2 Billion asset). The brand he owns is “Havells.”

Ravi Pillai ~ From A Farmer’s Son to Billionaire

Born into a family of farmers near Kollam in Kerala, Ravi Pillai says that he had always wanted to become an entrepreneur. As a first step, he started a chit fund. While that proved profitable, he soon realised there was more to be gained from the booming construction sector. 

ravi pillai new indian billionaire The New Indian Billionaires

In the early 1970s, he began doing sub-contracting work for companies in the chemical and oil refinery business. n 1979, Pillai moved to Saudi Arabia with whatever little money he had saved. Today, he is a construction baron (MD RP Group of Companies) and ranks number 30 in India’s richest 100 with $2.8 billion asset.

Desh Bandhu Gupta ~ From a Frustrated Professor and Scientist to Billionaire

If you have a passion to win, nothing can come between you and your goal,” tells the story of Desh Bandhu Gupta, then a professor now a billionaire. It all started in the year 1968 when Desh Bandhu Gupta dreamt to fight life infectious diseases by working as an associate professor at BITS, Pilani. To pursue his dream, he left his job and borrowed Rs. 5000 from his wife to start a small pharma company. Desh Bandhu Gupta is now a proud owner of his baby “Lupin” and also a billionaire with assets around $4.8 billion.

 The New Indian Billionaires

Vikas Oberoi ~ From The Most Underrated to a Billionaire

One of the most underrated personalities in the realty estate, Vikas Oberoi is a proud owner of Oberoi Realty, a reliable lifestyle construction company. His story is inspiring to all the young buds of business family – He inherited his father’s Oberoi Construction only to turn and expand it into something as big as Oberoi Realty. His Partnerships include: Oberoi Associates, R.S. Associates, R.S.V. Associates and Wellworth Developers. 

vikas oberoi The New Indian Billionaires

Sameer Gehlaut ~ From Young Entrepreneur to Billionaire

India’s youngest self made billionaire for 6th year now, the story of Sameer Gehlaut is an inspiration in itself. In 2000, at the age of 26, Sameer started Indiabulls, after acquiring a stock brokerage company. The office had only a tin roof and two computers.

sameer gelaut youngest indian billionaire indiabulls The New Indian Billionaires

8 years later in 2008, Indiabulls became one among the leading financial services company and Gehlaut with $1.2 billion became the youngest Indian billionaire at the age of 34. This year, too Sameer is the youngest billionaire in the Forbes list. Anybody up there in the making to break his record?

Nandan Nilekeni ~ From an Executive to A Billionaire

Here is a real story of rags to riches – The self-acclaimed man Nandan Nilekeni started his inspirational journey as an employer at Patni Computer Systems in 1978.  Three years later Nilekeni along with five others left Patni to start their own enterprise, “Infosys”. Nilekani later in 2002 was designated as CEO of Infosys.

nandan nilekeni The New Indian Billionaires

In 2009, Nilekeni left Infosys to serve as the chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDA),  under the invitation of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. A journey full of success and achievements, Nandan Nilekeni’s story is inspiring for all the young minds looking to become successful entrepreneurs. He ranks number 66 with $1.5 Billion asset in Forbes 2014 List of India’s richest people.

Nirav Modi ~From Jewelry Designer to Billionaire

Nirav Modi was born with a silver spoon but this is not the reason why he is in Forbes list of India’s richest man – He is a billionaire because of his love and passion towards jewelry designing. It all began as an experiment when Nirav designed an earring for a friend. Well appreciated, he tried his luck at the International level with a Golconda Necklace.

nirav modi jewels indian richest man The New Indian Billionaires

To his surprise, the necklace was sold for Rs. 16.29 crore at Christie’s Autumn Jewelery Auction. He was barely 30 then. Today at the age of 43, he has created a brand “Nirav Modi” which is world famous when it comes to jewelry designing. No wonder, Nirav is the new entrant in the billionaire list with $1.5 Billion asset at number 63.

T.S. Kalyanaraman ~ From a Shop Owner to Billionaire

At the age of 12, Kalyanaraman helped his father in their Textile business. Years later in 1993 he started his first shop named Kalyan Jewelers on his own by investing Rs. 75 lakhs. Today, Kalyan Jewelers is the largest jewelry chain in India with 58 showrooms across India. 67 year old T.S. Kalyanaraman with $1.1 Billion asset is 87th richest man in India and enters the Forbes list for the very first time.

kalyanaraman kalyan jewelers The New Indian Billionaires

Lakshman Das Mittal ~ From Bankrupt to Billionaire

The young man Lakshman in 1962 gave up a career in insurance and started making wheat thresher with the help of blacksmiths in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab. One year later, he was bankrupt. He didn’t stop and bounced back again in 1969. Like any Hindi film story, Lakshman (80) is no more bankrupt but a billionaire who owns and chairs the 3000 crore Sonalika Group, India’s third largest tractor maker.
lachhman das mittal The New Indian Billionaires

Irfan Razzack ~ From Jugaadu to Billionaire

Totally into retail, Irfan Razack and family got into the business of real estate while looking for a property. Irfan back then was in his 20s and his family was exploring various properties in Bangalore to avoid getting taxed from the sale of their ancestral home. After trading for 5 years in properties, Irfan decided to get into the ‘developing business’ on his own.
irfan razack The New Indian Billionaires
His brothers too joined him. The year was 1985 and Irfan began his entrepreneurial journey with 40,000 rupees. Today, both he and his baby are soaring heights – while one is a billionaire, the other is India’s largest property listed firm after DLF.

Uday Kotak ~ From a MBA Graduate to Billionaire

A young boy living in a joint family comprising of 60 people had an option of joining the family business of cotton trade. But, instead he choose to borrow money from family and friends to put into his dream which he believed. With 30 lakhs, he started his venture on his own and today his finance company is a commercial bank.

uday kotak india billionaire The New Indian Billionaires

The man in question is Kotak Mahindra Bank’s Uday Kotak. Uday’s story might not be rags to riches story, but his steps in this journey to become one of the richest man in India (#15 with $6.1 billion asset)  is a lesson and inspiration to many, especially those who have a backing and sources but still are clueless how to proceed.


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Image Source: DBG, Sameer, Nilekeni, Kalyanaraman, Vikas Oberoi

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