Shiv Nadar – The visionary who built HCL

Shiv Nadar set up HCL at a time when India had just 250 computers. Now, his technology and software company is a corporate behemoth setting standards for aspiring entrepreneurs.

He set up HCL at a time when India had just 250 computers. Now, his technology and software company is a corporate behemoth setting standards for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Shiv Nadar, 54, is globally recognised as a man of vision and enterprise. His attic start-up HCL is earning revenues to the tune of US$700 million with 30 offices in 19 countries worldwide.

Nadar, an electrical engineer from Coimbatore, had worked with Cooper Engineering as a systems analyst and as a senior management trainee at DCM before he started down the road to entrepreneurship. Armed with a vision of the networked world, Nadar has been busy proving to the world what a master strategist he is.

From its modest beginning in the early nineties, HCL has traveled a long way. Incorporated as HCL Overseas in 1991, the company changed its name to HCL Consulting in October 1994 and then again to HCL Technologies in October 1995 in order to better reflect the corporate image.

Now Nadar’s company serves technology vendors, software product companies and organizations with its services offerings. The company’s earnings from exports are substantial, mainly from the markets of US, Europe and Asia-Pacific through its global network.

Nadar, as founder and key architect of the growth path of HCL Infosystems, crafted an aggressive growth strategy for HCL Technologies as early as 1994. Other companies in India like Infosys and Satyam Computers were busy developing offshore competencies first and then examining overseas opportunities.

Not so with Nadar. HCL picked up the onsite-offshore model first, realizing the limitations of the offshore business model. He spearheaded HCL’s charge - forging strategic alliances, JVs and acquisitions during 1995-97, the period during which HCL laid the foundation for the first critical mass.

The company started business in 1994 by addressing services on-site through HCL Technologies America Inc. in the US. By further acquisition of R&D assets in 1996, Nadar was able to expand its services in technology development and acquired complete ownership control in Intelicent Inc, the joint venture with James Martin & Co. Inc, which led to specialized IT services.

Nadar, as founder and key architect of the growth path of HCL Infosystems, crafted an aggressive growth strategy for HCL Technologies as early as 1994.

This was followed by the 50:50 joint venture between Perot Systems Corporation and HCL to provide access to high-value client base. Named HCL Perot Systems NV, the joint venture entity engineered its own marketing and delivery infrastructure.

In December 1999, the company successfully completed an IPO at an offer price of Rs. 580 (US$12.40) to raise Rs. 823 crore (US$176 million) - becoming the second IPO to raise funds through the book-building exercise.

Nadar has stayed at the helm throughout, charting an aggressive growth strategy, mitigating risks, acquiring the hottest companies, and nurturing the company steadfastly to make it what it has become now: a staggering giant.

And Nadar, the atypical billionaire, is not stopping here. His eyes are on the road ahead and with millions in his kitty, once again on the prowl. - Anshul Chauhan, ZDNet India