Jay Chaudhry, the owner of the cybersecurity firm Zscaler, recently became one of the top 10 richest Indians after climbing 577 spots in Hurun Global Rich list 2021.
Reports suggest that the 62-year-old saw his net worth grow by 271% last year to $13 billion, his maximum.
Born into a humble family in the Panoh village of Himachal Pradesh, Chaudhry had limited to no access to electricity during his childhood. He apparently studied under a tree until 12th standard.
In an interview with The Tribune, he once said:
I used to walk nearly 4 km everyday to attend my high school at Dhusara, the neighbouring village.
The IIT-BHU graduate moved to the US in 1980 to pursue masters from the University of Cincinnati. This was apparently also his first time on a plane.
In 1996, Chaudhry and his wife, Jyoti, quit their jobs and founded their first startup - SecureIT, a cybersecurity firm. They were inspired by Netscape.
In another interview, he talked about founding his first startup.
Since I love to read about everything, especially technology, I read every article I could find about Netscape and everything I could find about the internet. That made me ask myself, 'why couldn't I do a startup like Netscape?
An Amercian citizen now, Jay Chaudhry founded 3 more tech startups before finally starting Zscaler in 2008.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Chaudhry held sales and marketing positions at companies like IBM, Unisysy and IQ Software.
Jay has always been obsessed about the internet. Speaking to Bloomberg he once said:
My success so far has mainly been because I have very little attachment for money. My obsession is really to make sure that the internet and cloud are a safe place for everyone to do business.
Today, he lives in California with his wife and children. The family owns 45% of Zscaler, which is worth $28 billion.