Three Indian-American Women named Forbes’ Richest Self-Made Entrepreneurs

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Jayshree Ullal, Neerja Sethi and Neha Narkhede were the three Indian-American women amongst Forbes’ list of America’s 80 richest self-made women. They were termed as “ceiling crashers” and “overachievers” by the publication. The list members, which contained women from the ages of 21 to 92, have a combined net worth of $81.3 billion.

Jayshree Ullal is the CEO and President of the cloud networking firm Arista Networks. She was born in London and raised in New Delhi and received her B.S. in electrical engineering from San Francisco State University and her M.S. in engineering management from Santa Clara University. After leading an extensive career in engineering, she was named CEO and President of Arista Networks by co-founders Andy Bechtolsheim and David Cheriton in October 2008. Ullal, ranked 18th in the list, has a net worth of  $1.4 billion. The 58-year old owns about 5% of Arista’s stock.

Neerja Sethi is the co-founder of the IT consulting and outsourcing firm Syntel. She started the company with her husband Bharat Desai in 1980 in their apartment in Troy, Michigan. In October 2018, French IT firm Atos SE bought Syntel for $3.4 billion and Sethi got an estimated $510 million for her share. The couple started the business with an investment of merely $ 2,000. Sethi’s current net worth is one billion dollars.

Neha Narkhede is the co-founder of streaming data technology company Confluence, currently valued at $32.5 billion. The company was founded by her and two LinkedIn colleagues to develop tools for firms using Apache Kafka, to manage sites’ large influx of data. The company has a total funding of $206 million and serves Goldman Sachs, Netflix and Uber amongst other customers.

Others  included in the list are chairperson of ABC Supply Diane Hendricks (1), media mogul Oprah Winfrey (10), Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer (12), reality TV star Kylie Jenner (23), fashion designer Tory Burch (29), pop stars Rihanna (37) and Madonna (39), singer Beyonce (51), author Danielle Steel (56), TV show Ellen DeGeneres (63) and tennis star Serena Williams (80).

This is the fifth year that Forbes has compiled a list of the richest women in America. “There are more and more women starting their own businesses and amassing their own fortunes,” said Luisa Kroll, assistant managing editor at Forbes. “To be self-made to Forbes, you can’t have inherited your business, you can’t have inherited your fortune, it has to be something you’ve attained on your own.”

A record 25 women in the list are billionaires, one more than last year. Nearly half, or 38, live in California, followed by New York with 9. Nineteen were born outside of the US, in countries spanning Burma to Barbados, out which three belonged to India.

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