The path he chose was not the beaten one. But the one less travelled.
His tryst with the Internet changed his life forever. He setup Globals Inc., an IT services company at the age of 14 in San Jose, California, with the help of a friend. Now at 21, his company has branches in over 11 countries, including Canada, Italy, UK, Germany, Spain and Australia apart from India and the US. Meet Suhas Gopinath, the world’s youngest CEO, who happens to be a final year engineering student from Bangalore.
Tale of struggle
Mr. Gopinath was in the city to interact with students of Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology on Thursday.
Over 3,000 students of the college assembled in the college grounds to hear Suhas’s success story. They listened intently as he spoke about his struggle as a 14-year-old to set up a company. His speech for the student audience was more like a tale of struggle, striving and achievement.
Introduced to the Internet at the age of 14, Suhas was enthralled by the web. Though he could not afford to pay the hourly rent, he struck a deal with the owner of the cyber café and started taking care of the joint everyday from 1 to 4 p.m. which helped him surf the net for free.
Over the days, he taught himself programming languages like HTML, CGI and Perl. By then, he started making websites. His first deal with a Singapore-based BPO didn’t materialise as Suhas was still a minor and couldn’t sign agreements yet. It was then that 14-year-old Suhas Gopinath set up Globals Inc, an IT services company at San Jose, California.
“Before setting up the company. I was offered an education and scholarship by an IT firm in the US. They also offered me a job after I graduated. Nevertheless, I wanted to be an entrepreneur and set up my own company so that I could employ people and create job opportunities. I took the risk of setting up the company as I had nothing to lose and I could always fall back on my education,” he says.
Juggling studies and work came with a price. “I have not enjoyed my student life. When my friends are out watching movies, I’m wearing a suit and attending board meetings,” laughs Suhas. “But in the end of the day when I turn back and look at things, the sacrifices were all worth it,” he adds.
His rendezvous with his role model, Bill Gates, was his most memorable meeting to date. “I walked in to the room and he stood up and told me, “I should be afraid of you. Because I set up a company in my early 20s and you did the same when you were 14.” “The 15-minute appointment went on for 45 minutes,” he says.
With over 250 employees in the US and 400 more in other countries, Suhas Gopinath had indeed come a long way. But two things that have made him, he says, are simplicity and humility.