John Kapoor Tops Indian Americans in Forbes’ 400 Richest People


A quartet of Indian Americans cracked Forbes’ list of America’s 400 richest people.

John Kapoor, Romesh T. Wadhwani, Bharat Desai and Kavitark Ram Shriram slid into the 194th, 234th, 268th and 358th slots, respectively.

The 2015 Forbes 400 list was released Sept. 29.

Kapoor, 72, who is the chairman and majority owner of drug companies Akorn and Insys Therapeutics, is worth a total of $3.3 billion. The Bombay University and SUNY Buffalo graduate ranked No. 261 on the list a year ago, making a 67-slot jump to his position in 2015.

The serial entrepreneur came to the United States from India in 1964. After getting his doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences, he worked at LyphoMed and eventually bought it out from his bosses in 1983. He sold it in 1990 and netted $100 million.

The Phoenix, Arizona, resident, in addition to the drug companies, owns a small chain of Indian restaurants in Arizona as well as Japanese eateries in Chicago, San Francisco and Scottsdale, Ariz.

Wadhwani, 68, a resident of Palo Alto, Calif., resident, is the chairman and CEO of Symphony Technology Group and has a net worth of $2.8 billion. He jumped up 15 spots from No. 249 in 2014.

After getting his bachelor’s at IIT Mumbai, Wadhwani earned his master’s and doctorate degrees at Carnegie Mellon University. The entrepreneur founded Aspect Development and later sold it for $9.3 billion in 2000. He founded Symphony Technology in 2002.

Desai, at No. 268, fell 19 spots from No. 249 in 2014. The Fisher Island, Fla., resident and co-founder of Syntel has a net worth of $2.5 billion.

Desai and his wife Neerja Sethi founded Syntel in 1980 in their apartment in Troy, Mich., after investing $2,000 to get it started. It now generates $900 million in revenue with employees across the world.

Desai, 62, is a graduate of IIT in Mumbai and earned his M.B.A. from Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Shriram, 58, is worth $1.9 billion. The venture capitalist fell 18 spots from No. 340 in 2014. He currently resides in Menlo Park, Calif. The University of Madras graduate bet early on Google, and it paid off for him. He has been on the board since the company’s inception in 1998.

In addition to Google, Shriram has made investments in early-stage startups including Zazzle, Paperless Post and Datafox.

Prior to Google, when Shriram arrived in the U.S. from India, he worked for Netscape. Later he became president of Junglee. When Amazon bought out Junglee, Shriram served as Amazon’s vice president of business development. He has given away the bulk of his Google stock.

Bill Gates, of Microsoft fame, topped the list of America’s richest with a net value of $76 billion. It’s his 22nd straight year atop the list.

Click here to