12 Outstanding Global Indians Who Made It Big In Silicon Valley
Recently, two giant tech companies of the world made news in India owing to the appointment of two Indians as the CEO of these 2 respective companies. Yes, I am talking about Satya Nadella, who was appointed as the CEO of Microsoft and Sundar Pichai, who was appointed as the CEO of Google. However, it will be wrong on our side as Indians to take the credit by highlighting these personas as Indian CEOs. Yet, the fact can’t be denied that both these gentlemen have Indian origins.
Over the years, we have heard about Indians flocking to the United States, especially the Silicon Valley, for better career opportunities. At times, these Indians are also criticized for quitting their own country for money and a better lifestyle. Still, I don’t consider their move as selfish or unpatriotic in any terms. As the title of the post says, these are Global Indians who chose the land of opportunity because it offered them a platform to use their extra-ordinary skills to build something interesting, something amazing. Such a platform never existed in India then, nor it exists today.
Today, I would like to share a list of some of the great Indian Technologists, popularly termed as Global Indians by the media, who left a dent in the big Silicon Valley, the platform for dreams to coexist and flourish.
Top Indian Techies Of Silicon Valley:
Ajay Bhatt didn’t work at Google, Yahoo, Facebook or Microsoft yet he makes it to the top of our list as he is the computer genius who earned the status of being the father of the USB standard. In this technology paced world, I wonder if there’s someone who isn’t aware of the importance of USB in this digital world.
Bhatt was born and brought up in India and even went on to complete his graduation from one of the most reputed universities of India, the Maharaja Sayaji Rao University of Baroda. He, then moved to the United States to complete his Masters degree from The City University of New York. After his studies, he got a job at Intel in 1990.
At Intel, he got the opportunity to work on crucial standards in graphics and computer architecture, with the help of which he was able to co-invent USB and also claimed 31 US patents under his name. Intel once praised him as the Rockstar of Technology.
Vinod Dham was another tech genius from India also became renowned in the industry owing to his work at Intel. Popular as the father of the famous Intel Pentium Processor, Vinod Dham, also hailed from India and finished his graduation in Electrical Engineering from the Delhi College of Engineering. For better exposure, he went to the US where he achieved his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati.
After his education, he joined the NCR Corporation where he built his expertise in solid state electronic and started working on Flash Memory. The experience at NCR Corporation helped him during the development of the Pentium Processor at Intel as well as led him to co-invent Intel’s first flash memory technology which gave an ultimate boost to his career.
Later, he moved to AMD, which is Intel’s biggest competitor in the computer chip industry. After working there for a few years, he launched a series of startups and started focusing on his career as a venture capitalist to help emerging startups in India.
Indian talent is widely spread across the Silicon Valley of San Francisco, United States, especially at Google, the internet giant. One of these amazing talent is Sundar Pichai who was recently promoted as the CEO of Google. Before his promotion as the CEO, Sundar Pichai handled the operations of Android, Chrome and Apps at Google.
Pichai was an IIT, Kharagpur alumni from India before he moved to the United States to achieve masters degree from both University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University. Before joining Google in 2004, Sundar Pichai worked at McKinsey & Company that pioneered in Applied Materials and Consultancy.
As the Head Product Manager at Google, Pichai successfully led some of the iconic products launched by Google such as Chrome OS, Chrome Browser and Google Drive. Apart from these products, he also looked after the development of Gmail and Google Maps He is the main leader behind the success of Chromebooks that challenged the PC industry completely dominated by Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Mac OS.
After the father of Android, Andy Rubin moved his expertise towards Google’s Robotics department, Sundar Pichai was handed the reigns of Android operations at Google. After the incorporation of Alphabet Inc. as Google’s new parent company, Sundar Pichai was appointed as the new CEO of Google.
The current CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella caught a lot of attention as the first Indian CEO of a globally renowned IT company like Microsoft. Before him, there were many Global Indians who got recognitions for various achievements in their company, but Nadella made it out to be the first person from an Indian origin to be the Chief Executive Officer of an IT giant.
Nadella, who always wanted to build things, completed his formal education in his homeland, India to achieve a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Manipal Institute of Technology and later moved to the United States for further studies. He attained a Masters Degree in Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and received an MBA degree from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
After the studies, he worked at Sun Microsystems for 2 years in the tech department before being picked by Microsoft in 1992. At Microsoft, he was given charge to set up one of the largest cloud systems in the world. Being a visionary with a great knowledge about the industry and the market, Nadella led both, the R&D department for online services and the Microsoft Business Division as Vice President of the respective sectors. Owing to his success in these fields, he was then moved up as the President of Microsoft’s $19 billion Server and Tools business. He was the think tank behind the complete transformation of company’s business and technology principle from client services to cloud infrastructure and services keeping an insightful vision for the future.
Such a move approached by Microsoft after Nadella’s vision, increased the revenue for the company’s Cloud Services. After Steve Ballmer retired from Microsoft, Satya Nadella was appointed as the CEO of Microsoft who also happens to be the 3rd person on that position after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.
Another Googler who hails from Indian origin is Vic Gundotra, who also happens to be the social star of Google as he is the person who came up with idea of Google+. Born in India, Gundotra worked at Microsof since 1991 before making his move to Google in 2007.
At Microsoft, he played an important part in developing Microsoft’s Windows Live Services which challenged Google’s online services such as instant messaging and Gmail. Assessing his potential, he was picked by Google where he became the Vice President of Social and led the team to launch Google+ as well as integrated the social platform within each aspect of Google’s services.
After mentioning the Indian stars at companies like Intel, Microsoft and Google, how could we miss out on the talented Indian technologists at the No. 1 Social Networking Firm, Facebook. Being famous as the first female engineer at Facebook, Ruchi Sanghvi hails from Pune, India.
After her formal education, Sanghvi moved to the United States where she completed both, her Graduation and Post Graduation in Electrical Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004. After her initial job at Oracle, she joined Facebook as the first female engineer of the company.
All thanks to Ruchi Sanghvi, we can today get all the updates all around the world on our news feed on a daily basis without any breach of our own account privacy. The news feed algorithm gave Facebook, the upper hand against its industry rival Twitter, which established itself as the fastest news aggregator with its news feed feature that we see on the homepage after logging in.
Owing to the success of the news feed feature, she was made the Product Lead for Facebook Platform. After being bitten by the Startup bee, Ruchi Sanghvi left Facebook and co-founded a startup named Cove, a stealth collaboration platform along with her husband, Aditya Agarwal. In a year after the launch of her startup, Dropbox acquired Cove and appointed Sanghvi as the Vice President of Operations at Dropbox.
Although, she left the position at Dropbox, she stills continues as an advisor at Dropbox. She moved her focus as an investor and advisor to some of the emerging Silicon Valley companies.
Before Gmail came into existence and dominated the webmail industry, it was Hotmail, that became a hot favorite among the internet users. Hotmail was founded by an Indian, Sabeer Bhatia along with his colleague, Jack Smith in 1996 before Gmail or even Yahoo Mail were born.
Owing to its success, Hotmail was instantly acquired by Microsoft and Sabeer Bhatia was offered a job at Microsoft. Hailing from India, Sabeer Bhatia got a golden opportunity to complete his graduation from California Institute of Technology in the United States after transferring from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in India. After graduation, he pursued further education at Stanford University to earn his Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering.
He worked at Apple for a brief time before launching Hotmail in 1996. He remained at Microsoft for a while after Hotmail was acquired by Microsoft in 1998 and then launched an e-Commerce startup firm and named it as Arzoo Inc.
Unfortunately, none of his other ventures repeated the achievements of Hotmail or even came anywhere close to its success. However, he made his mark in the Tech Industry as the founder of Hotmail, the world’s 2nd largest free email service used globally
Other Notable Mentions:
The list of Global Indians making their presence felt at Silicon Valley is very long. But, considering the lack of time and space, I couldn’t write about each and everyone. However, I would like to mention a few who deserves a mention in the list.
They are Amit Singhal from Google, Padmashree Warrior from Facebook, Shantanu Narayen from Adobe, and last but not the least Vinod Khosla who co-founded Sun Microsystems. All these great Indians achieved greater heights of success only because of their hard work, positive attitude, commitment and a strong desire to build things.
These names are an inspiration to everyone who is planning to launch a new startup or running one as well as an example to all those Indians working in the country or outside that if they try their best, they could also achieve such feats.