One of the richest men in the world, Dr. Gururaj Deshpande is known for his brilliant innovations and creative genius. His entrepreneurial skills have helped his companies dramatically change the way in which technology is used in the workplace. He is also a great philanthropist, and donates generously to research and development centers.
His Early Life and Education
Gururaj Deshpande was born in the city of Hubli, in northwestern Karnataka, into a family belonging to the Deshastha Brahmin caste.He grew up in a middle class and humble background, as his father worked in a government office.He attended the premier Indian Institute of Technology in Madras where he studied electrical engineering. He then enrolled at the University of New Brunswick’s graduate-level engineering program and went on to finish his Ph.D. from Queen’s University, Canada, specializing in data communications.
His Early Career
Dr. Deshpande started working at a subsidiary of Motorola, Codex Corporation located in Ontario, Canada. This company gave him the initial background into the world of high speed modems. He then moved to America in 1987 and cofounded Coral Networks, a company that produced network hardware like routers. However, the company ran at a loss and he sold it two years later to start another company called Cascade Communications, to manufacture internet equipment. Seven years later, Cascade was sold for $ 3.7 billion to Ascend Communications.
His Role as a Serial Entrepreneur
In 1998, Deshpande founded Sycamore Networks, which focused on innovation and developing of new products. The company went public by October 1999. Sycamore became a multibillion dollar company and made Deshpande one of the richest men in the world. It’s rapid technological innovation and product development has made it a formidable rival to dominant competitors like Nortel Networks Corp, Cisco Systems Inc. and Lucent Technologies Inc.
Dr. Deshpande also co-founded Tejas Networks in 2000, which produces networking and telecom products, along with ASG-Omni based in the US.
His Achievements and Awards
Gururaj Deshpande has contributed tremendously towards innovation and the research and development of new technologies.
His dream to support and promote new technologies in the fields of biotechnology, information technology and micro technology led him to set up the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, in 2002 along with his wife. The center sponsors and funds the research and development initiatives.
Dr. Deshpande was featured on the Forbes 400 listing of Richest Americans in 2000. Further, he was elected the Chairman of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2010.
His Current Life
Gururaj Deshpande, his wife and two sons live in Massachusetts, US. Dr. Deshpande is the chairman at A123Systems, Sycamore Networks, Tejas Networks and Sparta Group. He is also on the board of directors at Airvana Inc. Due to his significant innovations and great success, he has inspired many around the world and today he is a popular speaker at business and technology institutions as well as government organizations.