Shiv Nadar: Success Story

12 Aug, 2022

6 min read


Understand who Shiv Nadar, the man behind the billion-dollar HCL Technologies empire is.

Shiv Nadar – Early Years

Believe it or not, this Indian billionaire industrialist was not born into money. He was born in a village located in the southern state of Tamil Nadu on July 14, 1945. His parents Vamasundari Devi and Sivasubramaniya Nadar sent him to a number of different schools in TamilNadu. Ultimately, Nadar went on to receive a pre-university degree from the American College in Madurai along with a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. The latter was acquired from Coimbatore’s PSG College of Technology.

Forging a Career

HCL Technologies founder saw his career begin in 1967 at Walchand group’s College of Engineering Pune. From here, he went on to work at the Cooper Engineering Company prior to starting a job at the digital product unit of Delhi Cloth Mills. At the time, this company served as the fourth largest company in the country.

During this time, Nadar worked long hours which made him realise that it wasn’t what he was meant to be doing. He mobilised a few of his colleagues from the calculator division of DCM and they collectively began their own company.

MicroComp – A Step in the Right Direction

The year 1975 saw Nadar begin his own venture called MicroComp Limited along with a number of friends and colleagues who served as partners. Subhash Arora, Mahendra Pratap, Yogesh Vaidya, DS Puri, S. Raman, Arjun Malhotra and Ajai Chowdhry were the partners in question. That said, Shiv Nadar held the keys to the kingdom as he was the company’s largest shareholder. MicroComp was geared towards the sale of teledigital calculators within the domestic market.

The Foundation of HCL Technologies

In 1976, Shiv Nadar noticed the lack of a computer presence within the country. To make matter worse, IBM was closing shop in India owing to political issues. This paved the way for the space Shiv Nadar needed to thrive. In fact, he is credited with propelling forward a technological revolution within the country.

Nadar created HCL Technologies with an initial investment that amounted to INR 18,700. The state government of Uttar Pradesh was impressed by Shiv Nadar’s technological aspirations and granted him INR 20 lakhs. This was given in lieu of a 26 per cent stake in HCL Technologies. Serving as one of the country’s first Public-Private Partnerships, it was suggested that HCL be renamed Uttar Pradesh Computers Limited. Nadar, however, disagreed as he felt that the acronym HCL resonated with the broader country given that it stood for Hindustan Computers Limited.

Launching Personal Computers – HCL 8C

Prior to IBM and Apple Inc, HCL introduced India to the first PC, HCL 8C in 1978. This PC used a Rockwell PP 8 microprocessor and had BASIC language along with a powerful sort/ merge package. Medium-sized companies could use this PC to address their IT needs. Prior to this PC being introduced, most computers used in the country were IBM 1401’s which needed a large data centre equipped with air conditioning. The IBM 1401 PC was slow and cost a whopping INR 500,000 each year to avail on lease. In contrast, the HCL 8C could be purchased outright and was priced at INR 300,000. 

Conquering Global Markets

Shiv Nadar grasped the fact that he was witnessing an IT sector boom and strategically chose to move his business overseas. This began by offering IT services in Singapore and ultimately saw him set up Far East computers. At the time, HCL had a valuation of INR 3 crores, Within the first year of the Singaporean venture alone, sales amounting to INR 10 lakhs had been drawn. Fast forward a few years later, HCL Overseas Limited was established as a technology development service provider and ultimately renamed itself HCL Technologies Limited.

Preparing the Youth for IT Careers

During this time, the billionaire industrialist began to notice a gap in the IT sector between the job market and the skills that young people applying for jobs had (or rather, lacked). In an attempt to bridge this gap, Shiv Nadar opened the SSN College of Engineering in Chennai and provided it with nearly INR in million in shares. 

Built in memory of his later father, 2006 saw Nadar announce that this college would promote research apart from making sure that its students would benefit from tie-ups with foreign universities. In 2008, his SSN Trust set up two Vidyagyan schools in Uttar Pradesh that were meant for rural students. Here, free scholarships would be provided to 200 students from 50 districts in the state.

HCL Technologies and its Usage

HCL Technologies played a pivotal role in automating the National Stock Exchange across 261 cities. Additionally, it helped with the Boeing Dreamliner’s Flight Management Systems. Presently HCL Technologies serves as one of the country’s most valued IT players. This company has several delivery centres and innovation labs. It conducts work in the spheres of automation, capital markets, banking, defence, hospitality, mining, manufacturing, logistics and more.

Final Thoughts

Shiv Nadar cannot be mentioned without referring to his foundation – Shiv Nadar Foundation - which was set up in 1994. It is geared towards creating a more equitable and merit-based society that empowers individuals via education that’s aimed at bridging socio-economic disparities. With a philosophy that values creative philanthropy, this foundation has been designed to create institutions that live out their founders and continue to have a positive impact for an extended period of time. Learn about other inspirational individuals on the Angel One website today.

 Disclaimer: This blog is exclusively for educational purposes and does not provide any advice/tips on investment or recommend buying and selling any stock.

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