By Arun Kumar
Washington, Sep 20 (IANS) Five Indian-Americans figure in the Forbes magazine's annual list of the richest people in America with Microsoft Corp chairman Bill Gates retaining his top spot with $66 billion, up $7 billion from 2011.
He is followed by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s Warren Buffett (No. 2) with $46 billion, also up $7 billion from last year, and Oracle Corp's Larry Ellison (No. 3) with $41 billion, up $8 billion - and the biggest dollar gainer this year.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been pushed down in the rankings to the no. 36 spot with his estimated net worth falling by about $8 billion to $9.4 billion since Facebook went public in May.
The Indian-Americans' list is topped by Bharat Desai and family with a net worth of $2 billion in the 239th place. Kenya-born Bharat Desai started as a programmer for Tata Consultancy Services, only to leave the company four years later to start Syntel with his wife.
Next comes Romesh T. Wadhwani (No. 250), Founder and Chairman, Symphony Technology Group, with a net worth of $1.9 billion. Landing in the US with only a few dollars in his pocket, he developed business software firm Aspect Development. Today his portfolio includes more than 10 different enterprise software companies.
Third on the Indian-American list is Kavitark Ram Shriram (No. 298), Managing Partner, Sherpalo Ventures, with a net worth of $1.6 billion. He was one of the first people to write a check to Google cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1998.
Next comes Indian-born Manoj Bhargava (No. 311) with a net worth of $1.5 billion. His two-ounce caffeine and vitamin elixir, 5-Hour Energy, promises to keep users alert without crashing -- and claims a 90 percent-plus market share in the energy shot sector
Last on the Indian-American list is Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla (No. 328) with a net worth of $1.4 billion. With a firm belief that the future lies in developing cleaner energy sources, the Khosla Ventures founder was a big backer of biofuel producers Kior and Gevo, both of which went public in 2011, according to Forbes.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)