- The former co-CEO of commission-free trading app Robinhood is among the South Asian Americans who are on the list of 400 wealthiest Americans.
Donald Trump didn’t make the cut this year, but Indian American Baiju Bhatt, former co-CEO of commission-free trading app Robinhood, did as one of the youngest billionaires on ‘Forbes 400.’ The 36-year-old, who stepped down from his role in November 2020, is ranked 389th on the list with a net worth of $2.9 billion. Forbes says, “Bhatt owns an 8 percent stake in the company, which went public at a $32 billion valuation in July.” Bhatt co-founded Robinhood in 2013 with Vlad Tenev, who remains the CEO. The two met at Stanford as classmates and roommates.
Joining Bhatt are several Indian Americans, who are listed in the 400 wealthiest Americans list. Forbes says that while “it has been a terrible year for many, the good times keep on rolling for the nation’s richest.” According to the magazine, “the 400 wealthiest Americans saw their collective fortune increase 40 percent over the last year, to $4.5 trillion.”
Leading the Indian Americans on the list, is Jay Chaudhry, CEO of Zscaler, a cybersecurity firm he founded in 2008, which went public ten years later, The Reno, Nevada-based businessman is ranked 62nd. He and his family own 42 percent of the Nasdaq-listed firm. Before Zscaler, Chaudhry founded four other tech companies that were all acquired: SecureIT, CoreHarbor, CipherTrust and AirDefense. Chaudhry moved to the U.S. in 1980 to attend graduate school.
On the 92nd spot is Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, 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,” Forbes says. Khosla co-founded the computer hardware firm Sun Microsystems in 1982 with Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy and Scott McNealy. He spent 18 years at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (now called Kleiner Perkins) before venturing on his own.
Romesh T. Wadhwani, founder and chairman, Symphony Technology Group, is ranked 333rd. Wadhwani combined nine of his companies that were AI-focused into a new group called SymphonyAI in 2017. 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. He sits on the boards of the Kennedy Center and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He and his brother, Sunil, founded the Wadhwani Institute of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Mumbai in 2018, committing over $30 million.
Placed on the 340th rank is Niraj Shah, co-founder and CEO of online home goods retailer Wayfair. He started the business in 2002 with Steve Conine, The two met as high school students at a program at Cornell University. Wayfair, which now offers more than 18 million products, generated $14 billion in net revenue in 2020, up 55 percent from the previous year. Shah joined the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in 2017.
Aneel Bhusri, CEO of business software firm Workday, is ranked 363rd. He co-founded the company with Dave Duffield, the founder of PeopleSoft. Bhusri started his career in the early 1990s at business software firm PeopleSoft, where he rose to become vice-chairman. He also works as an advisory partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners.
Pakistani American Shahid Khan, an impact investor and owner of NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars is on the 94th spot. 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. Khan bought the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012, and UK’s Fulham football club, which he bought 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.