Happy Birthday Vinod Khosla: The Indian Tech Mogul


Everybody else is afraid to fail, I do not really care because when I fail, I try something new.

It is the birthday of an eminent Indian, an Indian who did his country proud by becoming one of the firsts to co-found a tech giant.

Vinod Khosla is an IIT graduate who has featured as a billionaire in Forbes list of America’s 400 richest people. He is the most influential venture capitalist in America, assisting and investing in various companies ranging from video games, multimedia to internet software.

It was Khosla who visualized the amalgamation of Fiber optics and internet that has made the communication cheaper and faster.

In 1981, he co-founded Daisy Systems Inc., a computer-aided design software for electrical engineers, with Dave Stamm and Harvey Jones. Soon, he became irksome by designing the hardware and quit the venture.

Always being an opportunist and an optimist, Vinod co-founded Sun Microsystems  on 24 February 1982 with his Stanford classmate Andreas Bechtolsheim from Germany.

Sun Microsystems was subsequently, acquired by Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ: ORCL) for $7.4 billion in 2010. Vinod also established Khosla ventures in 2004 which, revolutionized the industries with its path-breaking work and strategies.


Born to an Indian Army officer, Khosla was fascinated with technology from an early age and was enthralled with the development of Intel Corporation  (NASDAQ: INTC). This enchantment with Intel developed a firm likeness for the company.

Ironically, he was the man who changed the course of microprocessing industry. Vinod challenged Intel’s monopoly by establishing AMD (NASDAQ: AMD)  (the microprocessor that significantly challenged Intel’s microprocessors).

Born: 28 January 1955 at Delhi, India

Net Worth: $1.72 billion

A graduate of Indian Institute of Technology with a degree in Bio-Medical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and an MBA from Stanford University, Vinod Khosla became one the influential personalities of Silicon Valley. Listed below are some of his ventures and traits:

  • His first venture was in the soy milk industry. At an early age of 20, his business targeted a section of poor Indians who couldn’t afford refrigerators. Unfortunately, this venture sank and Khosla moved to the US for higher studies.
  • He masterminded the removal of Cisco and crowning of  Juniper Networks as the new king of the router market. With the immense knowledge of investment and global market, Khosla is an avid player and a mentor who has helped various firms including Viant, Lightera, Extreme  networks etc.

Just because you get funded does not mean you are successful.

  • After quitting Sun microsystems, Khosla decided to enter the venture market and founded Khosla Ventures in 2004 with a whopping $1 billion in capital. His strategies and plans not only include the investment but also supporting and nurturing the startups and industrialists.
  • He also the founded The Indus Entrepreneur (TiE) in 1992, a non-profit network catering to mentoring, educating, funding and incubating the entrepreneurs. TiE has 13,000 members across 18 countries.
  • He is also an ardent Quora user and has answered various questions from the future threat of Artificial Intelligence to the effect of automation in coming years on jobs.
  • A passionate environmentalist, Khosla has invested heavily in biofuel companies which manufacture ethanol. Ethanol is cheaper to produce and to sell compared to gasoline. What makes it eco-friendly is that it comes from agricultural manure. He ardently believes change must follow step by step, innovation by innovation.

Experience in your business is important, but experience is a bias. What’s more important than experience is the rate of learning.

  • He supported California’s Proposition 87, a clean energy enterprise that failed to pass, in 2006. His wife and he have donated $500,000 to Wikimedia foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization.
  • On the home soil, he has invested in SKS Microfinance and provided loan for women welfare in rural India. He believes e-commerce will dominate in the coming decade as the market seems to be ready to compete with the likes of Alibaba.
  • Khosla opted for an unsure and unknown path rather doing a 9 to 5 high paying job. As he recalls, “I’ve never worked on anything I don’t enjoy”. He feels India is a fertile ground for investment but due to lack of homework, he is not investing in Indian firms as of now and believes that India has similar opportunities like that of those which lead to great development in China.

If there’s a 90% chance of failure, there’s a 10% chance of changing the world.

The post is a part of a B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from Tech Industry, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or a renewed leaders who moved the industry with his exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marissa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian AssangeSir Richard Branson, Sergey Brin by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.


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