4 Indian Americans hit the Forbes' list

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New York, Sep 18: Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and aventure capitalist (ranked 355), Google investor Kavitark Ram Shriram (ranked 281), Syntel founder Bharat Desai and family (ranked 321), and Amar Bose (also ranked 321) of Bose sound systems are on the 2008 list of the 400 richest Americans prepared by Forbes magazine.

All four are self-made billionaires. To get on the Forbes' list, the minimum net worth needed was $1.3 billion this year. The list, released on Wednesday, Sep 18 is topped by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, followed by legendary investor William Buffet with fortunes of about $57 billion and $50 billion respectively.

Shriram, 51, with a personal wealth of $1.7 billion, is a Chennai-born entrepreneur who started at Netscape in 1994. Later, he created shopping site Junglee, which he sold to Amazon in 1998.

An early investor and a board member of Google, he still owns 1.3 million shares worth $600 million. Today, the Californian backs some Indian and US startups and sits on the board of Indian job site Naukri.com.

Khosla, 52, also based in California, is an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) product from India with an MBA from Stanford. He co-founded electric design automation company Daisy Systems in 1980.

Two years later he joined others to form Sun Microsystems. He served as its chief executive before turning to finance full-time in 1996. In 2004, he started Khosla Ventures, which funds "science experiments" like solar panels and clean technology.

Florida-based Desai was born in Kenya 55 years ago, but moved to India at age 11. After getting an IIT degree, he moved to the US in 1976 to work at TCS. He founded Syntel with wife Neerja Sethi, taking it public in 1997. Today, the firm outsources client's IT and BPO overseas, mostly to Asia.

Bose, now 78, started repairing radios in high school. He earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Techonology (MIT) and started research on hi-fi sound before starting Bose Corp in 1964.

He built his brand on groundbreaking loudspeaker design. Today, Bose iPod docks, surround-sound home entertainment speaker systems and noise-cancelling headphones dominate the market. Based in Massachusetts, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame last year.

A man of Sri Lankan origin is also on the Forbes list. Raj Rajaratnam (rank 262), with a wealth of $1.8 billion, founded hedge fund Galleon Group in 1997, making big bets on health care and technology companies. Today the firm manages $7.5 billion across six funds.

Dropouts this year include former American International Group (AIG) chief executive Maurice Greenberg and former eBay chief Meg Whitman. With an average net worth of $3.9 billion, the 400 richest Americans collectively have a net worth of $1.57 trillion, exceeding Canada's gross domestic product.

The top 20 rich Americans are

1.William Gates III

2.Warren Buffett

3.Lawrence Ellison

4.Jim Walton

5.S Robson Walton

6.Alice Walton

7.Christy Walton and family

8.Michael Bloomberg

9.Charles Koch

10.David Koch

11.Michael Dell

12.Paul Allen

13.Sergey Brin

14.Larry Page

15.Sheldon Adelson

16.Steven Ballmer

17.Abigail Johnson

18.Jack Taylor and family

19.Anne Cox Chambers

20.Donald Bren

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