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With a Net Worth of $13.6 Billion, Nevada-based Entrepreneur Jay Chaudhry is the Richest Indian American

With a Net Worth of $13.6 Billion, Nevada-based Entrepreneur Jay Chaudhry is the Richest Indian American

  • Listed on the Forbes ‘World Billionaires List,’ he is the CEO of Zscaler, a cybersecurity firm he founded in 2008.

More than four decades ago, Jay Chaudhry flew from India to the U.S. to attend graduate school at the University of Cincinnati. It was the first time the 20-year-old had boarded an airplane. And all he had was $200 in his pocket, and a dream to succeed. It was a whole new world for the young man who grew up in the village of Panoh, 230 miles north of New Delhi, that didn’t have running water or electricity until he was a teenager, according to a January 2000 profile in The Tribune.

Now the 62-year-old not only has a string of successful software startups under his belt, and a net worth of $13.6 billion, according to Forbes, he is the richest Indian American. This week he made it to the Forbes ‘World Billionaires List.’ Last year he was ranked 45th in Forbes’ 400, an annual ranking of the richest Americans.

Chaudhry is currently the CEO of Zscaler, a cybersecurity firm he founded in 2008. It went public in March 2018. According to the Business of Business, a website that tracks and curates real-time data, unconventional ideas, and insider tips, Chaudhry “got thereby developing a special expertise in security software, and by not being afraid to strike out on his own and found new startups.” Besides founding four other companies, he was vice president and general manager of VeriSign’s security services division and held sales and marketing management positions at NCR, IBM, Unisys and IQ Software.

Chaudhry and his wife, Jyoti, both left their jobs and used their savings to launch his first startup Secure IT in 1996. Business to Business says SecureIT “was the first pure-play security service for the internet,” and was acquired by VeriSign in 1998, “prompting him to move to San Francisco to lead Verisign’s security services division.” Two years later, Chaudhry moved to Atlanta and founded the wireless security company AirDefense, which was acquired by Motorola. Next, he started CipherTrust, an email security gateway that merged with Secure Computing and eventually became part of McAfee. Then he launched CoreHarbor, an e-commerce platform that was acquired by AT&T.

Chaudhry founded Zscaler in 2008, which Business to Business says “has grown into the largest internet security company with revenues of $673.1 million in 2021.” The company gives IT departments the ability to monitor all the traffic on a company’s network while also protecting it from threats of viruses and hacking.

“My success so far has mainly been because I have very little attachment for money,” Chaudhry told Business Standard in 2019. “My obsession is really to make sure that the internet and cloud are a safe place for everyone to do business.”

Since Zscaler made its initial public offering on the NASDAQ exchange in March 2018 with a share price of $16, “Chaudhry’s wealth has increased by leaps and bounds,” says Business to Business, adding that “Zscaler is now trading at around $280.” According to the website, “the company’s market cap is $28 billion, and it employs 2,800 people.” Chaudhry and his family own 42% of the Nasdaq-listed firm, according to Forbes. The company “thrived during the Covid-19 pandemic, causing Chaudhry’s wealth to balloon by 271%,” added Business to Business.

“My success so far has mainly been because I have very little attachment for money,” Chaudhry told Business Standard in 2019. “My obsession is really to make sure that the internet and cloud are a safe place for everyone to do business.”

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Chaudhry was born Jagtar Singh Chaudhry, the youngest of three sons of Bhagat and Surjeet Chaudhry. His parents were small scale farmers without much money, the Tribune profile said, adding that Chaudhry had to walk a little over 2 miles to get to school each day at Dhusara, the neighboring village “Because there was no electricity, young Chaudhry often studied outside under a tree,” the profile adds.

He earned his MBA in Marketing, MS in Computer Engineering and MS in Industrial Engineering – all from the University of Cincinnati. He earned his Bachelor of Technology in Electronics Engineering from IIT BHU Varanasi. Additionally, he has completed the Executive Management Program at Harvard Business School

He has been honored as an Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year (Southeast USA),” an Information Week “Innovator & Influencer”, an SC Magazine “Market Entrepreneur”, an IIT BHU “Distinguished Alumnus” and a Goldman Sachs “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs.”

In a September 2011 interview with the Mercury News that he returns to Panoh, India, nearly every year to help the community. He told the Mercury News that he’s a vegetarian, and a “health freak,” who’s “crazy about exercise.” He especially likes to hike — everywhere from local parks to Yosemite — and also likes white-water rafting. He and his family routinely take after-dinner “bonding walks” around his neighborhood. A voracious reader, he particularly savors books on history, global politics and psychology. He and his wife Jyoti have three children – a daughter, Simi, and two sons, Yash, and Samir.

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