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3 Indian-origin among America’s richest self-made women

Arista Networks' Jayshree Ullal, Syntel's Neerja Sethi, Confluent's Neha Narkhede are the three Indian-origin women who made it to the Forbes list

New York City: Three Indian-origin women have been named by Forbes among America’s 80 richest self-made women, the “ceiling crashers” and “overachievers” blazing their own trails as they create new businesses and amass fortunes.

President and CEO of computer networking firm Arista Networks Jayshree Ullal, co-founder of IT consulting and outsourcing firm Syntel Neerja Sethi and CTO and co-founder of streaming data company Confluent Neha Narkhede are in the Forbes list of ‘America’s Richest Self-Made Women 2019’.

The list has been topped by Diane Hendricks, who chairs ABC Supply, one of the largest wholesale distributors of roofing, siding, and windows in America. The 72-year-old has a net worth of $7 billion.

Indian-origin Ullal, who has been ranked 18th in the list, has a net worth of $1.4 billion. The 58-year-old owns about 5% of Arista’s stock.

“Born in London and raised in India, she is now one of America’s wealthiest female executives,” Forbes said.

Indian-origin Sethi, ranked 23rd, cofounded Syntel with her husband Bharat Desai in 1980 in their apartment in Troy, Michigan with an initial investment of just $2,000.

Her current net worth is one billion dollars. French IT firm Atos SE bought Syntel for $3.4 billion in October 2018 and Sethi, 64, got an estimated $510 million for her stake.

Indian-origin Narkhede is ranked 60th on the list with a net worth of $360 million. Confluent, which is currently valued at $2.5 billion, counts Goldman Sachs, Netflix and Uber as customers.

As a LinkedIn software engineer, Narkhede, 34, helped develop Apache Kafka to handle the networking site’s huge influx of data and in 2014, she and two LinkedIn colleagues founded Confluent to build tools for companies using Apache Kafka, which became open source in 2011, Forbes said.

The list also includes media mogul Oprah Winfrey ranked 10, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer (12), reality TV star Kylie Jenner (23), fashion Tory Burch (29), pop stars Rihanna (37) and Madonna (39), singer Beyonce (51), author Danielle Steel (56), TV show Ellen DeGeneres (63) and tennis star Serena Williams on the 80th spot.

Forbes said more women are creating new businesses and amassing fortunes than ever before, leading it to expand its ranking of the nation’s wealthiest self-made women to 80 ceiling crashers, one third more than a year ago.

“Each of these overachievers has blazed her own trail,” it said.

List members range in age from 21 to 92 and are worth a combined $81.3 billion. The minimum net worth to make Forbes’ fifth annual ranking of these women is $225 million. A record 25 are billionaires, one more than last year. Nearly half, or 38, live in California, followed by New York with 9. Nineteen were born outside of the US, in countries spanning Burma to Barbados.

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