Nagavara Ramarao Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys, was born into a poor but educated family. His father was a teacher in a high school. Narayana Murthy was academically very brilliant even during his childhood days. His walk from a humble beginning to being one of the co-founders of a Multinational Corporation, Infosys, was not a cake walk. His struggle with circumstances was immense, sometimes frustrating, and sometimes very painful, but he never gave up. The hard knocks of life made him stronger.
Mathematics and Physics fascinated the young Narayana Murthy, which eventually led him to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Mysore and later, his Master’s from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur.
His first entrepreneurial startup was a software firm “Softronics”, which failed to make any progress. The failed business taught Narayana Murthy some of the greatest lessons in entrepreneurship. Determined not to repeat the same mistakes, he made up his mind to start over again.
His next venture was Infosys. He started Infosys with six other software professionals, Nandan Nilekani, N.S. Raghavan, S. Gopalakrishnan, S.D. Shibulal, K. Dinesh, and Ashok Arora.
A small house bought on loan was Infosys’ first office. Sudha Murthy, Narayana Murthy’s wife, multitasked as a clerk, cook, as well as a programmer writing codes for Infosys. To make ends meet, she worked in Walchand Group of Industries as a Senior Systems Analyst.
The first major business breakthrough for Infosys came in the year 1983. The client was Data Basics Corporation, based in the US. For business sake, the partners decided to move from Pune to Bangalore. Bangalore became their business hub.
Infosys was smooth sailing in Bangalore until it signed a joint venture with Kurt Salmon associates, US, in the late 80s. It was a costly mistake. It pushed the company to the verge of collapse with a big dent. It completely shook the financial side of business triggering one of its partners, Ashok Arora, to pull out. He sold his shares back to its partners and backed out. But Narayana Murthy stood his ground. He was determined to make Infosys turn around. His other partners decided to stay back and start anew. The team started once again under the leadership of Narayana Murthy. They worked hard. The business gained momentum rapidly. The 90s liberalization policy also helped the company soar new heights in the IT business.
Their struggle met success. In 1987, Infosys opened its first International Office in Boston, US. After that, Infosys, as we know today, has never looked back. It is one of India’s biggest IT major.
Narayana Murthy engraved his name next to the names of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008.
In 2011, Infosys had to pass through yet another major setback. It prompted the company to recall Narayana Murthy, who had by then retired from Infosys. He took up the position of the Additional Director and Executive Chairman. Narayana Murthy along with the top management worked out different strategies to get Infosys steady once again. One such strategy was to rework on the salary structure and incentives of the employees to woo talents and also to retain them. Infosys was on safe road again.
In short, this is the story of a man whose humble background never prevented him to push oneself to the limits. His unmatched commitment and dedication stood the test of time. The result was Infosys, India’s pride.
Today Infosys is actively creating jobs for thousands of youths across the globe.
We at “Loohpa” salute this great man.