HE MAY NOT be armed with a degree from Harvard or Stanford or an IIT, but Shiv Nadar, the founder of HCL Technologies, the country's third-largest IT firm, is a self-made billionaire with a net worth of ₹1,57,361 crore. His Mantra: "The world is full of opportunities"!

Nadar left his job at DCM's (Delhi Cloth & General Mills') calculator division along with seven of his colleagues and went on to set up Hindustan Computers Ltd. (now HCL Technologies) in 1976, with an aim to make personal computers.

Born in Tamil Nadu's Moolaipozhi village and having lost his father early, financial hardship had been Nadar's way of life. But while others would have been content with an undergraduate degree in engineering and a decent job at a reputed firm thereafter, Nadar dared to dream big. HCL, best described as the "garage start-up" of its times, was launched from a small barsati room. Under Nadar's leadership, the company achieved many firsts — building India's maiden indigenous computer; digitisation of NSE; 2019 deal with IBM to acquire the latter's select software products for $1.8 billion, among others. The company closed FY22 with a revenue of $11.48 billion, and increased its clientele in the $50 million bracket to 43 from 35 in FY21.

Nadar, who himself completed his college education through a sponsorship offered by philanthropists, acknowledges that the story of HCL began because "somebody was thinking beyond business." The Shiv Nadar Foundation, launched in 1994, boasts of a wide range of initiatives, including the SSN Institutions, VidyaGyan, Shiv Nadar University, Shiv Nadar School, Shiksha Initiative and Kiran Nadar Museum of Art. The Foundation has spent $1.1 billion across its initiatives so far.

A private person, Nadar made headlines in 2014 for spending ₹115 crore to buy a bungalow in Delhi's New Friends Colony. The tech doyen, however, doesn't want to be remembered only as the architect of HCL. "I do hope that with the transformational work of the Foundation, I will be known as Shiv Nadar, the philanthropist who also founded HCL, for posterity," he said in 2018.

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