Born In: Dharwad, Karnataka
Gururaj Deshpande is one of the richest Indians alive. He is an Indian American businessman who was efficient in establishing a streak of companies. Hence, he is better known as a serial entrepreneur, not to be confused with serial killer. Gururaj Deshpande prefers to be called Desh, instead of being called by his full name. In spite of being among the league of the richest Indian Americans, Deshpande is known to be a very humble or down-to-earth man. He lives a simple and modest life just like an average citizen with an average income and his wife supports this lifestyle. The couple does not pamper their children with all kinds of luxuries, but teaches them the value of everything they use. Although Desh lives in America and can easily call America home, he loves India for everything that the country means to him. He truly is what you would call a 'global Indian'.
Gururaj Deshpande was born in Hubli/Dharwad situated in Karnataka. Deshpande's father was a government official as a labor commissioner hailing from a Deshastha Bramhim family. Deshpande completed his electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai-after which he went to Queens University, Ontario to do his Ph.D. in Engineering and applied science.
In 1984, Desh started working at Codex Corporation which was a subsidiary of Motorola. The company was located in Ontario, Canada and Desh's stint here marked the beginning of his career. In the year 1987 he co-founded a router developer named Coral Networks. However, he sold this company two years later for a price of $15 million. However, this was nowhere near the end. In 1990, Desh, again co-founded Cascade Communications. Cascade Communications proved to be an extremely important company that provided products that were advantageous to the use of the internet. Desh was the President of this company and later became the Executive Vice-President. Yet again, in the year 1997, he decided to sell this company, only this time the price was $3.7 billion. Finally in the year 1998, Desh founded the famous Sycamore Networks with the help of MIT researchers. This company was again for sale, at a price of $18 billion. This time Desh had a shareholding of 21% in the company which soon helped make him one of the richest Indians in the world. He continued his streak of entrepreneurship as he founded the networking and telecom equipment products company, Tejas Networks. Tejas Networks was formed with the US based ASG-Omni in the year 2000. Desh has also been chairman of IBM's Lotus Sametime Unyte.
Currently, A123 Systems also has Deshpande as the Chairman of its board. A123Systems manufactures high power lithium-ion batteries. These batteries went on NASDAQ in the year October 2009 and were worth $438 million including the trade at a 50% premium.
Deshpande makes every Indian dream bigger with his achievements and only sets the standards higher and higher. However, apart from being among the richest Indians alive he also has a great affinity towards less fortunate people and has contributed in a major way towards the betterment of the community at large. He is also known to have made important contributions to the field of education.
Awards And Accolades
IIT-Chennai presented Gururaj Deshpande with the Distinguished Alumnus Award in the year 1998.
1984: Started his career at Codex Corporation.
1987: Co-founded Coral Networks.
1990: Co-founded Cascade Communications.
1998: Founded Sycamore Networks.
2000: Founded Tejas Networks with US based ASG-Omni in Bangalore.