B.V. Jagadeesh

Date:   Friday , November 21, 2008

Age 43
Place of Birth Bangalore, India

Residence Silicon Valley, CA

Family Wife and 2 children, 3 brothers and mother

Came to the U.S. 1982

Education BE - UVCE, Bangalore, MSEE - VJTI - Mumbai

First job and career Micronic Devices, Mumbai

Company started 1994

Year did an IPO 1998

Year became millionaire 1998

Favorite charity Supporting the cause of education

Lifetime goals Help provide education to millions all over the world also help make 20 entrepreneurs succeed in building a succesful company.

Net worth $200 million

Philosophy of life Make it a win-win situation.

Most inspired by Swamy Vivekananda

Most excited by Good food

Most expensive thing ever bought Car

B.V. Jagadeesh comes from Bagalur, a village about 20 miles from Bangalore. In his youth, he and many others would flock to a car on the rare occasions one came to their village. Now when he visits Bagalur, Jagadeesh is the one in the car — and almost the entire village turns out to greet him.

“The sight last time was quite fascinating,” he said after a recent visit. “Over 200 people came” to greet the village lad, now rich and famous.

Jagadeesh left Bagalur when rather young because its only school provided education only up to grade seven. Almost 30 years later, children growing up in Bagalur still have difficulty receiving high school education, and the village suffers from a lack of drinking water. The Saratoga resident hopes to help the village redress these two problems, but a larger part of his donations will go to government-run schools in Bangalore, one of which put him on the right career path.

On his last visit to Bangalore, Jagadeesh announced a grant of one million dollars to the city’s several hundred schools. But instead of handing over a check to the politicians who control the schools, Jagadeesh has set up a trust and roped in World Bank support to manage it.

He contends that he and the genre of Indians in Silicon Valley have profited the most from education, often provided at a subsidy. It is this education that has brought some of them on par even with the likes of the Tatas or Birlas in terms of wealth, and it’s time to pay back, he reasons.

An entrepreneur at heart, Jagadeesh started a number of smaller ventures a few years after coming to the United States. But it was almost always something that he did on the side, while still holding a job at established corporations such as Novell and 3Com. Finally, he quit the full-time job and joined hands with K.B. Chandrasekhar to first start Fouress Inc., which specialized in networking consulting. The company metamorphosed into Exodus, a company that itself found a niche in the Web-hosting market.

A big challenge in starting a company full-time was giving up a “six-figure paycheck,” Jagadeesh said. But he took the plunge, reassured by the fact that his wife, also a software professional, had a job. There were still several pitfalls. Jagadeesh says while signing loan papers, he did not realize that he even put his house and a lot of his assets on the line.

Still, Exodus slipped into financial muddle before financier Kanwal Rekhi pumped in $200,000, giving the company the breath of life. From that point on, Exodus’s value has rocketed, and is close to a market cap of $25 billion.

The Exodus co-founder says he still leads a simple life and derives pleasure from inexpensive things such as music or helping young entrepreneurs. He is an avid angel investor and his portfolio of investments includes Yodlee.com, a company started by a group of Indians.

Recent visits to India and his alma mater have been a source of satisfaction to him. Jagadeesh, who left India in 1982, is re-discovering friendships with tons of old classmates, teachers and friends. Many who have read about Jagadeesh’s stunning success have written to him and some have even come to meet him. Jagadeesh is offering sage entrepreneurial advice to many — and even funding ventures of others.

Bala Murali Krishna