- The list includes Jay Chaudhry, Vinod Khosla, Romesh T. Wadhwani, and Rakesh Gangwal.
Five South Asian Americans are among the wealthiest Americans, ‘The Forbes 400’ has revealed. The list includes Indian Americans Jay Chaudhry, Vinod Khosla, Romesh T. Wadhwani, Rakesh Gangwal, and Pakistani American Shahid Khan.
“After a roaring 2021, the 400 richest people in the U.S.—along with many Americans—have been hit by rising inflation and falling markets,” Forbes says. “As a group, this year’s Forbes 400 is $500 billion poorer than they were a year ago. Their total net worth stands at $4 trillion, down 11% from last year.”
Elon Musk makes his debut topping the list, “despite all the turmoil in both his professional and personal lives. He unseats Jeff Bezos, now No. 2, “who was hit by a 27% drop in Amazon shares.” Bill Gates moved up a spot, to No. 3, “despite giving $20 billion to his foundation earlier this year.”
Leading the list of South Asian Americans is Shahid Khan in the 56th spot with a net worth of $11.2 billion. An engineer by trade, Shahid Khan bought auto parts supplier Flex-N-Gate from his former employer in 1980. His design for a one-piece truck bumper was the basis for his success; the company now has 69 plants worldwide and over 26,000 employees. He also owns the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, which he bought in 2012, and the UK’s Fulham football club, purchased in 2013. He and his son, Tony, launched All Elite Wrestling, a professional wrestling entertainment company and a competitor to WWE, in 2019. He is a major financial backer of Black News Channel, a 24-hour cable news channel, which launched in February 2020.
Following Khan is Jay Chaudhry, CEO of Zscaler, the richest Indian American with a net worth of $8.2 billion, according to Forbes. Chaudhry founded the
cybersecurity firm in 2008. He and his family own 42% of the Nasdaq-listed firm which went public in March 2018. Before Zscaler, Chaudhry founded four other tech companies that were all acquired: SecureIT, CoreHarbor, CipherTrust and AirDefense. In 1996, Chaudhry and his wife, Jyoti, both quit their jobs and used their life savings to start the cybersecurity firm SecureIT, his first startup. He moved to the U.S. in 1980 to attend graduate school and now lives in Nevada, after relocating from the Bay Area.
With a net worth of $5.2 billion, venture capitalist Vinod Khosla is in the 181st spot. He is the founder of Khosla Ventures which invests in experimental technologies such as biomedicine and robotics. The firm scored exits in 2020 and early 2021 with IPOs of Affirm and DoorDash and SPAC listings of QuantumScape and Opendoor. Additionally, he co-founded the computer hardware firm Sun Microsystems in 1982 with Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy and Scott McNealy. Khosla spent 18 years at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (now called Kleiner Perkins) before launching his own fund.
Romesh T. Wadhwani, founder and chairman of Symphony Technology Group is on the 196th spot with a net worth of $5.1 billion.. Earlier this year he stepped down as CEO of SymphonyAI “in a move to start to ready the firm for a potential public offering.” He is also chairman of ConcertAI, an AI company focused on healthcare and life sciences that was valued at $1.9 billion by venture capital investors in March 2022. After graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology, he went to Carnegie Mellon and received a Ph.D. in 1972 in electrical engineering. The serial entrepreneur later founded Aspect Development, which i2 Technologies acquired for $9.3 billion in stock in 1999.
Among the wealthiest Indian Americans is airline veteran Rakesh Gangwal, who made his fortune from InterGlobe Aviation, the parent outfit of budget airline IndiGo, India’s largest by market share. He co-founded IndiGo, headquartered outside Delhi, with pal Rahul Bhatia in 2006 with one aircraft. The Miami resident owns close to 37% of the company and served as a board member. Gangwal started his airline career with United Airlines in 1984 and went on to run US Airways Group as its chief executive and chairman. He resigned from the company’s board in February and said he would be gradually selling his holding over the next five years.