Infosys is India’s second largest software company. Today I will tell you the story of its birth, initial struggle, growth and success. As you all know, Infosys was founded on July 2, 1981 in Pune by N. R. Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, N. S. Raghavan, Kris Gopalakrishnan, S. D. Shibulal, K. Dinesh and Ashok Arora. S. Raghavan was the first employee of the company. For starting the company Narayana Murthy borrowed INR 10,000 from his wife Sudha Murthy. The company was given the name “Infosys Consultants Pvt Ltd.”, and Raghavan’s house in Model Colony, Pune became the first registered office of Infosys.
These are some interesting facts about Infosys during its initial years ::
- Infosys was Narayana Murthy second attempt to become entrepreneur. Before starting Infosys, he tried to establish one another company called Softronics, whose main target was domestic market. But that venture failed and finally Murthy started looking into other options and then Infosys came into picture.
- On July 2,1981, seven engineers working for Patni Computers, decided to start their own company. Thus Infosys Technologies was born. There were six South Indians including Nandan and Murthy and one Punjabi, Ashok Arora.
- Nandan Nilkeni always says that Infosys represents the revolt of South Indian Brahmins against the north Indian banias (Businessmen) who dominated Indian business at the time. “South Indians are not a monolith,” he says. “Three of us were from Karnataka, two from Kerala, one from Tamil Nadu and anyway, Ashok Arora was a Punjabi.”
- One of the seven Infosys founders, Ashok Arora left the company in 1989, thus sometimes people confused and say that there are six founders of Infosys.
- Due to his technical skills and knowledge in the field of computer science, Narayana Murthy is often considered as the best software engineer ever produced by India. He is M.Tech in Computer Science from IIT Kanpur (1969 batch).
- Sharad Hegde was Infosys’ first non-founder employee. Before joining Infosys he was working in Patni, Hegde was Infosys’ tech-guru in its early years. He left the company only in the early 2000s
- Most people in Infosys saw Phaneesh as Murthy’s successor in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. Actually he played major role in growing the company from a $10 million one to a $700 million one between 1992 and 2002. Then, the sexual harassment suit (circa 2002, when a former Infosys employee in the us, Reka Maximovitch, alleged that she had been harassed by Phaneesh) happened, and Phaneesh had to leave the company. Now a days, he is CEO of iGate. He is an IIMA graduate.
- The first mini computer arrived at Infosys in 1983. It was a Data General 32-bit MV8000. The very next year Infosys switched from mini to main frames with a CAMP application for a Data Basics customer.
- Infosys got its first joint venture partners in Kurt Salmon Associates. Gopalakrishnan played the main role in this joint venture. But it got collapsed in 1989 and Infosys came into almost dying stage. Gopalakrishnan then told Murthy that they had nothing after eight years of trying to bring up a company. Those who studied with us had cars and houses. The company was on the verge of collapse. One of the founders of Infosys, Ashok Arora decided to quit. The other founders did not know what to do. But Murthy had the courage of conviction. ‘If you all want to leave, you can. But I am going to stick (with it) and make it,’ Murthy told them. This was actually courage and firm determination of Murthy, which finally saved the company.
Some rare pictures of Infosys old days::