Twins Isha and Akash Ambani have debuted on Fortune’s “40 Under 40" list of influential people around the globe. The Ambani siblings have been named on the list for their contribution towards turning around Reliance Industries’ consumer business- focussing on their telecom and retail sector.
“They say data is the new oil — and when it comes to Reliance Industries, India’s largest company, that’s literally the case," Fortune said, adding the 47-year-old conglomerate amassed a fortune in petrochemicals before dominating the country"s mobile connectivity market with Jio, a low-cost wireless carrier which debuted in 2016.
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani is the most successful businessman in the country. With a net worth of $80.5 billion, Ambani is currently the 8th richest person in the world and the only Indian in the top 10. Ambani’s children have now made a big footprint with their debut on the Fortune’s “40 Under 40" technology list.
Akash joined the company in 2014 after receiving an Economics degree from Brown University. A year later, Isha joined following stints at Yale, Stanford and McKinsey.
Fortune, in their note about the Ambani twins, said, “As Jio board members, they helped seal the company’s recent megadeal with Facebook — USD 5.7 billion for a 9.99% stake — plus major follow-on investments from marquee tech titans like Google, Qualcomm, and Intel. The flurry of investments lent the business an eye-popping USD 65 billion private valuation."
The Ambani scions, it said, lead enviable lives, “attending private concerts featuring Beyonce, partying with buddies Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, living it up in a 27-story residential skyscraping pleasure palace in Mumbai."
It also said that the ‘glam siblings’ are now training — along with their younger brother, Anant, 25, a more recent addition to Jio’s board — to take on their father’s empire. “A major proving ground will be e-commerce," it said.
Recently, Akash and Isha helped launch JioMart, a venture that aims to challenge Amazon and Walmart"s Flipkart for command of India"s massive and fast-growing online shopping market.
Along with the Ambani siblings, ed-tech startup Byju’s founder Byju Raveendran has also featured on the list. Regarding Raveendran, Fortune said he has shown the world that it really is possible to build a massively successful online education company.
“Byju’s, as the company is known, has become India’s biggest education technology company, helping millions of students prep and study for the most important exams of their lives while teaching them a thing or two about core topics like mathematics and science," it said.
Since its founding in 2011, the red-hot education startup has raised over USD 1 billion and is now worth more than USD 10 billion. In August, Byju’s bought the education technology startup WhiteHat Jr for USD 300 million.
Manu Kumar Jain, managing director of Xiaomi India, also features on the list. “Jain knew nothing about smartphones when Chinese giant Xiaomi tapped him in 2014 to build its India operations from the ground up. But he did know a thing or two about startups," Fortune said.
The last company he founded, Jabong, was a fashion e-commerce player that was sold to Flipkart. In his quest for knowledge at the start of his new gig, the executive regularly carried between 30 to 40 smartphones in his bag, testing out features and checking out competitors.
“His (literal) heavy lifting paid off: Under Jain, Xiaomi overtook Korean colossus Samsung to become the smartphone leader in India in just three years, bolstered by a strategy to act more like an Indian company," it added.
Stating that the coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally altered the way people work and socialise, Fortune magazine said executives have moved quickly to support and empower employees while grappling with daunting challenges to the way their businesses operate.
“To reflect this wave of transformation, we decided that we needed to embrace change in this year"s 40 Under 40. We needed to go bigger — and search more widely," it said.
This year’s list includes 40 influential people under 40 years of age in five categories — finance, technology, healthcare, government and politics, and media and entertainment.
With inputs from PTI