From Rags to Riches-Narayana Murthy

Narayana Murthy

The Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy, popularly known as Narayan Murthy is a perfect example of how your determination, hard work and commitment towards your goal can transform your life from rags to riches. Despite facing some insurmountable failures in life Narayan Murthy never felt disappointed and hopeless. Every small failure in his life motivated him to chase his dreams more wildly. He never got satisfied with a decent job and good salary packages like his fellow mates and always wanted to learn new things and become a passionate entrepreneur. Presently, he is the chairman emeritus of Infosys, a company with a net income of US$2.48 billion. After his retirement in Infosys, he has played a key role in supporting start-ups through his private investment firm, Catamaran Ventures.

Early Life

Sidlaghatta, Kolar District in Mysore, Kingdom of Mysore (now Karnataka) was the birthplace of Narayan Murthy. He was born on August 20, 1946, in a middle-class family. He belonged to a poor family and his father was a teacher in high school. Narayana’s uncle was a civil servant and so did his father wanted him to follow in his uncle’s footsteps. But this young boy had a knack for technology and wanted to be an engineer. He was a bright student and wanted to pursue engineering from Indian Institute of Technology. So he appeared for the entrance exam in IIT and cleared it with flying colours and also got a scholarship. But the scholarship was not enough to cover his educational expenses until he gets a graduation degree. So, he enrolled himself in a local engineering college, the National Institute of Engineering and graduated in 1967 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He then went to the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur to complete his MTech degree from there.

Work Experience Before Starting Infosys

In 1969, Narayana Murthy got some really attractive job offers after completing his master’s from HMT, Telco and Air India, offering him handsome salary package. However, he rejected all the offers and took a job in Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad as Chief Systems Programmer and there he worked on India’s first time sharing computer centre at a salary of Rs800. There he used to work around 20 hours a day and sometimes he used to go home at 3 AM and get back to work at 7 AM. He even designed and implemented a BASIC interpreter for Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL).

First Failure

He started his first entrepreneurial venture Softronics – the software consultancy firm in the early 70s. During this time he was dating his wife Sudha a wanted to get married to him. His to be father-in-law kept a condition that Narayana must find a decent job if he wanted to get married to his daughter but Murthy was adamant that he really wanted to do business. About 1.5years later the company faced huge financial losses and finally closed down. Now, he was left with no option but to take up the job of general manager in Patni Computer Systems. Sinc, he now had a job so he satisfied the condition of his to be father-in-law and married his wife Sudha Murthy, a renowned philanthropist and writer. Sudha Murthy later proved to be a lucky charm for her husband helping, motivating and supporting her in difficult times.

Establishment of Infosys

While working in Patni he was not satisfied with his job and had an urge to create good quality software. But now he did not have the courage to take the risk of failing for the second time. At this stage of life, his wife proved to be a great source of motivation. She was able to sense her husband’s pain, restlessness and passion to pursue entrepreneurship as a career. Sudha Murthy then asked his husband not to worry about the financial needs of the family and gave him Rs 10,000 which she had saved. This solved Narayan problem of inadequate finance to start the business to some extent. Then on 2nd July 1981, Infosys was registered as a company. The company had six software engineers as the confounder-Narayan Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, N. S. Raghavan, S. Gopalakrishnan, S. D. Shibulal, K. Dinesh and Ashok Arora. This company is known as Infosys Consultants Private Limited.

From Rags to Riches-Narayana Murthy


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