His humble beginnings were India, in the mid 1940s rural village, Rampur Manhyaran. Vinod Gupta grew up without many of the ordinary amenities of today, served in the Indian Airforce and studied agricultural engineering in India. On graduating he gained a graduate assistantship at University of Nebraska and left India with a ticket bought on loan, and $58.
After gaining a Business Administration masters, he worked as marketing research analyst with mobile homes manufacturer, Commodore Corporation. Asked to evaluate rival companies’ performance, it was difficult to get information. So, Vinod compiled his own list from 8,800 directories.
He offered Commodore two options: exclusive rights to the list for $9,000. or free with his right to sell it to competitors. Commodore took the latter option. With a loan of $100., invested, he made $35,000. within a month. He then founded Business Research Services & American Business Lists (ABI) and left Commodore a year later.
With two part-time employees, his company created lists from information in telephone books to meet the needs of mobile home manufacturers. His business expanded and he added other industries. Vinod found that the need for B2B marketing information offered endless possibilities. So he expanded, and with acquisition of several companies became InfoUSA.
InfoUSA became InfoFree which evolved to a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service system helping businesses grow sales. The Company – a Google before Google – grew from his initial $100. investment and sold for $680 million in 2010.
With his American dream realized, Vinod gives back mainly through education in the USA and India. He has donated over $50 million and is helping to close the gender gap in India. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by universities in both the US and India. He recently started database101.com, a new database company for sales people.
Vinod Gupta’s: Twitter.