Jan 29, 2017

Meet 4 Indian immigrants who made millions for America

BYJayadevan PK

US president Donald Trump’s call to ban the entry of citizens from seven Muslim majority countries to the United States is causing panic around the world. Obviously, Indian tech companies that count on a  large number of H1B visa holders to do their work in the US, are also jittery.
Indian tech executives usually tell the press that they are being ‘cautiously optimistic.’ The spiel is ‘Hey, this is political rhetoric.’ or ‘It’s an election year. Nothing will change.’
We, the Indian media, then line up a bunch of India born American CEOs like Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella and Shantanu Narayen and say– hey, these immigrants make America great.
In that glorious tradition, I’d like to present three more hitherto unknown immigrants, who have added a ton of value to the American economy. But these aren’t CEOs. These are entrepreneurs.

  1. Dheeraj Pandey of Nutanix: In 1997, Dheeraj left India, with $900 in his pocket. It was the first time he was flying. After working for a few years (as an H1B visa holder to start with), he founded Nutanix. Last year, the company went public. Lightspeed Venture Partners, a US based venture capital firm, turned its $10 million investment into $1 billion. Watch our interview with Dheeraj.
  2. Jyoti Bansal of AppDynamics: He’s a graduate of IIT-Delhi. Earlier this week, his company AppDynamics was acquired by Cisco for $3.7 billion. Guess how much their investors turned in as returns? Take a look.
    Credit: Equity Zen
    Credit: Equity Zen
  3. Akshay Kothari & Ankit Gupta of Pulse: Akshay is now the head of LinkedIn in India. Ankit is now an angel investor. Back in 2010, they founded news app Pulse. They sold it to LinkedIn for close to $100 million. Again, some US based venture capital firms got very rich. Read our profile of Akshay Kothari here.

Now you can say that the average American who voted for Trump didn’t get to see any of this money. Going by various accounts including this excellent prediction by documentary film maker Michael Moore, that may be true. But it’s definitely not an immigration issue.
India produces some of the best technology talent in the world. Back in the day, most of them would study hard and find their way to the US, because there weren’t too many options around. That’s changing. If America won’t have them, India will be happy to keep them.

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Jayadevan PK is a writer of FactorDaily.