I don’t know if you’ve heard, but India has a pretty big population. And by big I mean 1.2 billion inhabitants big. And, the tech community there is growing as fast as the population. So, its no wonder the country also has produced some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world including PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi and Gurbaksh Chahal, the young entrepreneur who sold his company BlueLithium to Yahoo for a cool $300 million.
And then, of course, there is the legend of Suhas Gopinath who at the age of 14 started a multi-national company and became the “World’s Youngest CEO” and India’s shining entrepreneurial star.
This is his extraordinary story.
The Indian boy, the cybercafé and the multinational
Suhas’s humble business beginnings started in 2000 at a cyber café in his hometown of Bangalore, India. In order to keep up with his friends who had computers at home, he made his first business deal with the cybercafé owner to watch the store in the afternoon in exchange for surfing the net for free.
This proved to be a very successful business deal for Suhas, and in 2000 he incorporated his company, Globals Inc, and became the world’s youngest CEO.
How did he do it? Well, he just started building websites…for free. In fact, his first actual paycheck of $100 didn’t excite him the way it would other 13-year-olds. He genuinely loved technology and learning everything about it.
Student first, CEO later
But Suha’s mother wasn’t so keen on his business ventures. When Suha failed the math portion of his CBSE exams, he tried to use the, “Bill Gates didn’t finish his education,” plea, but she wasn’t buying it. In fact, entrepreneurship was considered a sin in his household. But the Engineering and MBA track was not Suha’s destiny.
To appease his mom, he took a 4-month sabbatical from Globals Inc. to focus on studying, and passed his exams with flying colors.
It was time to get back to business.
Globals Inc and the young CEO—Today
Suha has been at the helm of his business for the last 10 years and has grown it from a little over $1,000 revenue in its first year to a multi-million dollar software solutions company today.
And, the 25-year-old CEO hasn’t stopped there. You’ll likely find him organizing or speaking at youth leadership events or fulfilling his duties as board member of the ICT Advisory Council of the World Bank. He might also be dusting off his prestigious World Economic Forum’s “Young Global Leaders” (2008-2009) Award, among many accolades collected in the past several years.
Today, Suha’s unwavering dedication and passion for technology and entrepreneurship serves as a shining example to India’s budding entrepreneurial ecosystem. His role model status stretches way beyond India’s borders and continues to influence other startup successes around the world. With a former title like “World’s Youngest CEO” and a multi-million dollar company, I imagine you would have some serious influential powers.
Well done, Suha!