When the press gathered to shoot pictures and videos of the likes of Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Niklas Zennstrom (Skype), Chad Hurley (YouTube) and Michael Birch (Bebo) last Thursday when I arrived at my hotel in Dublin, where the F.ounders event was being held, I was surprised to see a fifth man get prompted to be included by the event organizers. Particularly because I didn’t recognize who this guy was, and not even his name rang a bell.
Over the course of the next few days, I’ve gotten to know him, and he has a fantastically inspiring story to tell alright: meet Divyank Turakhia, one of India’s youngest and most successful pirates – sorry, technology entrepreneurs.
Turakhia started his first business when he was 14 years old, and cofounded what its now the Directi Group when he was 18. He famously made his first million when he was 18, and now ten years later it sounds like things are just getting started for him.
Directi is now a holding company with a current market value of over $300 million (not bad for a venture that was bootstrapped on a $600 budget – loaned by Divyank and his brother from his parents – back in 1998). Its portfolio of products and business are all over the place, ranging from collaboration, social networking, instant messaging and content publishing software offerings to major domain parking company Skenzo.
As for Divyank Turakhia, he’s set a large chunk of resources aside for his next bet: Media.net, which will formally make its debut at ad:tech New York later this week. It’s a contextual advertising play, and Turakhia aims for it to rival none other than Google AdSense.
After what I’ve learned about him the past few days, I wouldn’t bet against him at the very least taking a really good shot at it.
Here’s my (admittedly far too brief) interview with Divyank: