11 Famous Startup Founders & CEOs who went to Indian Universities


Indian higher education puts you up with people who have started some of the hottest startups and run the biggest companies in the world. See for yourself with these 11 people who all have been to Indian Universities and now have great success:

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1. Sundar Pichai

Google, CEO

Born in: Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India

Undergrad: IIT Kharagpur

Graduate level: M.S. Material Sciences and Engineering from Stanford, MBA from Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania

After finishing school Pichai worked for the big consulting firm McKinsey & Company. He would then join Google in 2004 and was responsible for product management of Google Chrome, Chrome OS and Google Drive. His last stop was to manage the Android platform before becoming full-time CEO of Google.



2. Indra Nooyi

PepsiCo, CEO

Born in: Madras, Tamil Nadu, India

Undergrad: Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics from Madras Christian College

Graduate level: MBA from IIM Calcutta, M.S. Public and Private Management from Yale School of Management.

Indra is CEO of the second largest beverage business in the world. She consistently ranks among the top 100 most powerful Women.

After graduating, she got her start at Boston Consulting Group. She then held strategy positions at Motorola & Asea Brown Boveri. Originally joining Pepsi in 1994 it would take her 7 years there before she was named CFO. She would become CEO after leading PepsiCo through restructuring, a merger with Quaker Oats Company, and purchasing Gatorade.



3. Satya Nadella

Microsoft, CEO

Born in: Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, India

Undergraduate: Electrical Engineering from Manipal Institute of Technology.

Graduate level: M.S. Computer Science from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Nadella famously said he “always wanted to build things.” He originally worked for Sun Microsystems before joining Microsoft in 1992. His work at Microsoft involved building their Cloud products and becoming Senior-VP of Research & Development. In 2014, he was named the 3rd CEO of Microsoft when Steve Ballmer stepped down.



4. Ajay Banga

Mastercard, CEO

Born in: Khadki, Pune, Maharashtra

Undergraduate: Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University

Graduate level: MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

Banga started his business career at Nestle for 13 years. He then joined PepsiCo to help them launch their international fast food franchises in India. He would then join Mastercard and work his way to COO before being appointed CEO in 2010.

He also holds the prestigious position of Chariman of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC).



5. Richa Kar

Zivame, Founder

Undergraduate: Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani

Graduate level: Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies

Richa got the idea for Zivame while she was working with a retailer & global technology company. She was studying the Indian lingerie market for her job and had a light bulb moment:

Because of the social discomfort Indian women felt about buying lingerie it was made into a fast, hurried chore.

She knew she could make a website that could do better and that became Zivame.



6. Arun Chandra Mohan

Jabong, Founder

Born in: Chennai

Undergraduate: Communications from Loyola College Chennai

Graduate level: MBA from INSEAD

Started under the German power house Rocket Internet Company, Mohan was one of the instrumental founders. He worked 14 hour days to make Jabong an Indian fashion powerhouse. The have surpassed competition with aggressive marketing and deals that beat their competition. They now sell hundreds of brands of clothing and Jabong is arguably the most valuable fashion site in India.



7. Supam Maheskwari

FirstCry, Founder

Undergraduate: Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering

Graduate level: IIM Ahmedabad

Supam first founded Brainvisa Technologies which turned into one of the largest eLearning companies in India. He would start FirstCry because it solved a pain-point he had with his first child: He couldn’t get the baby products in India that he was bringing back from business trips in the U.S. and Europe. He saw a big demand-supply gap for people like him. That realization has made FirstCry the largest online shopping portal for kids and expecting mothers in Asia.



8. Vijay Shekhar Sharma

Paytm, Founder

Born in: Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, India

Undergraduate: Delhi College of Engineering

Before starting One97 which owns Paytm he jumped jobs to learn different management strategies. The most important lesson he learned is that the quality of your team matters. The second he learned was perseverance. Both of these concepts have become the cornerstone of how Paytm has risen so fast in India.



9. Mukesh Bansal

Myntra, Founder

Undergraduate: Computer Science from IIT Kanpur

Mukesh was so successful making Myntra a household name in India it was bought by Flipkart in 2014. It took 9 years of hard work to get Myntra to the place where it is now. Famous for closing down their website to focus on only their mobile app. This has later been reversed as search traffic is gaining popularity in India.



10. Phanindra Sama

Redbus, Founder

Undergraduate: Electronics Engineering from BITS-Pilani

Graduate level: Indian Institute of Science

While working for Texas Instruments as an engineer he went home for Diwali and found inspiration for Redbus. He tried to buy bus tickets from local travel agents but tickets were sold out too fast and he was stuck. He visualized a way to modernize how bus tickets are sold which became Redbus. Sold to Ibibo in 2013, it was one of the largest overseas deals at the time.



11. Amareeh Murty

Pepperfry, Founder

Undergraduate: Civil Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering

Graduate level: MBA IIM Calcutta

Amareeh was the Indian Country Manager for eBay right before starting the furniture website Pepperfry. In 2012 Pepperfry started with a multitude of products but later pivoted to only furniture. This pivot was key to increasing their velocity and achieving success of shipping 1 lakh units by November 2014. They are now the most popular furniture website in India.


You’re Next!

These people all have one thing in common with you: they have an Indian education. It’s your turn to go ahead and apply it in the the ways you want to be next on this list.

This post was written by Sunaina who normally blogs at the CouponHippo Blog about Indian life, fashion, news and startups.


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