NR Narayana Murthy is a pioneer in the Indian IT sector and is currently the chairman emeritus of Infosys Technologies and founder of the venture capital firm Catamaran Ventures. Murthy was born in August 1946, a year before the country reached independence, in the Kolar gold mining district of Karnataka state. He received a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Mysore in 1967, followed by a master's degree in technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.
He decided to join the Indian Institute of Management- Ahmedabad after considering offers from Electronics Corp. of India Ltd ECIL Hindustan Machine Tools HMT Telco and Air India. He worked on the country's maiden time-sharing computer system - which was the third in the world after Harvard and Stanford - as well as designed and implemented an interpreter for the high-level BASIC programming language for ECIL at IIM-Ahmedabad.
He worked on developing an operating system for cargo handling at Charles de Gaulle Airport during a stint in France. A young Murthy was involved in a life-changing incident during this period. During a trip through the countries of the former Eastern bloc, he was wrongly arrested in Bulgaria due to the language barrier. It dawned on him that wealth had to be created first before it could be distributed, and that was enough to turn him into a compassionate capitalist from a confused leftist. The government's job was to create a suitable environment for entrepreneurship.
Murthy founded Softronics in India to provide IT related services in the domestic market. He quickly shuttered it as the idea couldn't take off. In 1981 he founded Infosys with six other software professionals. His spouse Sudha Murthy provided the initial capital investment of 10,000 for the venture. That was the time when Infosys was able to install its first computer in 1984, and it took up to two years to get a computer.
He chose to hold his ground. It was the beginning of economic liberalisation in the early 1990s that put Infosys on the growth trajectory. Murthy was suddenly inking deals for a wide range of services including consulting, systems integration, software development and product engineering with overseas clients.
With new contracts revenues were growing as well. Infosys became the first Indian company to list on NASDAQ in 1999.
In FY 22 the annual revenues of Infosys were more than $16.31 billion, while net income was over $2.96 billion. The company had 1,741 active clients during the period.
In 2008, the French government awarded him the Legion of Honour, the country's highest award.