The New Indians of Silicon Valley

IT Business

Indo-Americans are a prime example of successful immigration. While 53% of all Asian immigrants speak English very well, the proportion among Indo-Americans is as high as 73%. While the median income for all American households is around $50,000 (in 2010), the Indo-American household comes to almost $90,000. In the area of education, Indo-Americans also perform excellently.

Higher Education

The proportion of academics with a higher degree than a bachelor is 10% in the total population. It’s almost four times as high among Indo-Americans – 38%. A similar high-contrast picture emerges for the proportion of professions in science and engineering. For the entire population, the proportion of employed persons in this area is 5%. For Indo-Americans almost 6 times higher, at 28%. The Indo-American population is approximately 3 million and approximately 87% of those over the age of 18 were born outside the United States.

Technical Expertise

As is clear from the heading, Indo-Americans have a strong level of technical expertise. 14% of all startups in Silicon Valley are founded by Indian immigrants, based on all US startups in the technological area, the proportion is still 8%. Indian company founders represent 33% of engineering and technology companies in the United States founded by immigrants. India is by far the leader among the “immigrant groups” for the area mentioned. Indians have founded more such companies than the 7 next largest immigrant groups (by nation).

Indians with very good education in particular came to the USA in the past. That explains the professional success of Indian immigrants in the USA very well. Since 1965 alone, more than a million Indians came to the United States for higher education. Many of them have stayed there as Indo-Americans. Estimates say that approximately 60,000 graduates of the Indian elite institution IIT live in the United States today. Another tens of thousands of middle-class Indians come to the US every year for further education. Let’s look at some of the most innovative Indian entrepreneurs that started business in the US and significantly impacted the Silicon Valley.


Zilingo is a technology startup founded in India in 2015 by Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor. Broadly speaking, it can be defined as an e-commerce platform operating in the fashion business. Bose, 28, is among the youngest executives in Asia. He is leading a startup that generates more than interesting income from the world of fashion. His background is as a mathematician and economist.

Zilingo did not emerge as just another business that took advantage of consumer demand. It started to help digitize small fashion businesses and provide them with the opportunity of electronic commerce. The solution also helps local producers to purchase their raw materials at reasonable prices. In this way, Zilingo wants to reinvent the industry to make it fairer, more connected and transparent for everyone. The company is also worth a billion.

Shiva Patibanda

Shiva founded VividLogic Inc., in 1999 based in the Silicon Valley. The company quickly evolved to become the leading provider of Embedded software for Consumer Electronic Devices. VividLogic’s IEEE 1394 Firewire based FireBus software was deployed in over 5 million HDTV from premium manufacturers. That includes Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Hitachi, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, RCA and others. The company has supplied over 60 million Cable STB manufactured by Scientific Atlanta and Pace. VividLogic developed and licensed its Cable Set Top Box Software Stack to Comcast in 2011. This software was established as the industries Reference Design Kit (RDK). It is currently deployed in over 40 million devices in Comcast’s flagship Xfinity brand of STB.

Shiva received his primary education from Vishakhapatnam, India. He received High School education from Andhra Loyola College Vijayawada, India. After receiving his Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering degree, he went to Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA. He completed his master’s in computer science from there. Since 1984, he has been working for several technology companies. His portfolio includes Tektronix Business Computing Machines, Daisy System Corporation,  Nippon Electric Company (NEC) and Sony Electronics.

Before founding VividLogic, Shiva founded MasterLogic Inc. in 1997, a company that specialized in building “turnkey” solutions in the Consumer Electronics and Telecom space. Masterlogic helped Sony Electronics develop and implement interoperability standards for Consumer Electronic devices. British Telecom helped him deploy integrated voice messaging based on Magellan Front End Switches.  His career trajectory is a perfect example of how Indian entrepreneurs are forming the technology infrastructure in the US.

Arvind Krishna

Thirty years after joining IBM, just after receiving his doctorate in electronics from the University of Illinois, the engineer from Andhra Pradesh will succeed Virginia Rometty and continue the transformation of the group, to which he has largely contributed. It was this expert in quantum computers, blockchain and artificial intelligence who, in 2018, proposed and completed the acquisition of Red Hat, a specialist in open source software. A $34 billion transaction that is part of a larger strategy to strengthen IBM in the private and hybrid cloud segment. It will take a lot of energy for him to catch up with Amazon, Google and Alibaba, but his management style is often compared to that of Satya Nadella, who brilliantly managed to bring Microsoft back into the technological race. In his new functions, Arvind Krishna will have as an ally Jim Whitehurst, former boss of Red Hat, appointed president of IBM.

Sundar Pichai

He has just taken control of the parent company of Google, but Sundar Pichai was already behind the wheel of the group’s flagship, search engine and its many related activities like YouTube, since 2015. Born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, he studied at the Kharagpur Institute of Technology, then at Stanford before earning an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Passed by McKinsey, he joined Google in 2004, where he continues to accumulate responsibilities on the programs Chrome, Gmail, Google Maps, and even Android. To the point that in 2014 his name is mentioned for the succession of Steve Ballmer at the head of Microsoft. Today, Sundar Pichai is on two fronts: that of regulators, who all over the world hold him to account for his management of private data and his possible abuses of a dominant position, and that of employees.

Sandeep Mathrani

Sandeep Mathrani has agreed to fulfill at WeWork, the controversial and weakened coworking champion. He had a similar mission to that assumed by Iranian Dara Khosrowshahi at Uber two years ago. To turn around a company once praised by the markets but in difficulty. Long valued by its first shareholder, the Japanese Softbank, to stratospheric multiples justified by a tech image affixed to a rather traditional real estate business, WeWork had to give up its IPO last year, investors being moved by the amount of his losses and the escapades of his co-founder Adam Neumann.

Sandeep Mathrani was born in India into a wealthy family. He studied at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. Sandeep started out in real estate after making a hefty capital gain on an apartment. He turned around the management company of shopping centers GGP. It went bankrupt after the crisis of 2009. He managed to give a facelift to decayed malls and far removed from the consumption habits of millennials.

Satya Nadella

Microsoft’s only third boss, after Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, has managed to transform the company’s attitude towards its competitors, and at the same time its perception by the tech world. Satya Nadella, born in Hyderabad, graduate of the University of Wisconsin and holder of an MBA from the University of Chicago, first worked at Sun Microsystems before joining the Redmond group in 1992, where he very quickly recognized the importance of cloud services. But, under Steve Ballmer’s leadership, Microsoft suffered from a hyperaggressive and dated image, with the company anchored on the proprietary software model.

Satya Nadella, fond of Indian poetry and passionate about cricket, will instead send pledges to the world of free software, to the point of being able to convince GitHub. Satya was “Person of the year” by the Financial Times in 2019. He allowed the share price to quintuple in six years. In April 2019, the group was the third to cross the threshold of 1,000 billion dollars in capitalization.

Shantanu Narayen

He is one of the first Indians to take the reins of a large tech company. He allowed the publisher of graphics software Adobe (Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign) to take the cloud turn. Born in Hyderabad to a factory manager father and a mother professor of American literature, he studied computer science at Bowling Green State University (Ohio) and obtained an MBA at Berkeley. He started at Apple, then joined Silicon Graphics, before creating Pictra, one of the first online photo sharing platforms.

He joined Adobe in 1998 as head of technology and became its boss nine years later. In 2011, he participated in the Management Advisory Committee created by Barack Obama to improve the functioning of the administration. Distinguished as “Global Indian of the year” by the Economic Times of India in 2018, he recently hired the CEO of Informatica to manage Adobe’s digital experience unit.