May 16, 2022

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Software Development

Technology Trailblazer Indian American Umang Gupta Passes Away


Born in Patiala in 1949, Umang Gupta grew up in many Indian cities as his father was a government official. He studied Chemical Engineering at IIT Kanpur, but the ‘techie at heart’ wished to understand the emerging corporate world. Gupta left for the US for his MBA at Kent State University, Ohio.

Upon graduation in 1973, he joined IBM as a computer sales representative, soon taking on senior marketing management roles. It was a time when the world was shifting from industrial machines to business machines. He worked for a year at Magnuson Computers and in 1981, he joined Relational Software (now Oracle) becoming its 17th employee.

It was a new software company then, founded in Santa Clara. Gupta worked closely alongside its founder Larry Ellison and became well known as the person who wrote the first business plan for Oracle Corporation. He served as vice president and general manager of its Microcomputer Products Division through 1984.

The company went public in 1993, the first enterprise software company founded by an Indian American to be listed on an American exchange. In an interview to CIOReview in 2013, Gupta recalled the heady days: “I felt at that time that my dream had come true. I was on top of the world.”

At the forefront of client-server revolution, Gupta Technology became less of a force when Microsoft and Oracle poured investments into the profitable sphere. Gupta left the company he created.

After a year-long contemplative phase, Gupta started investing in software companies. It was at this time that he invested in Keynote Systems which tracked performance of websites. The company board soon appointed him as CEO. In 1999, Gupta took Keynote public as well and acquired many other companies to increase its offerings.

Gupta remained CEO till 2013 when a private equity firm purchased the company for $395 million. After which, he immersed himself and his investments into educational software, which helps children learn to read. When asked what helped him succeed, Gupta responded to CIOReview, “First is the love for my craft. I love what I do, I love technology, I have always been a techie at heart, but I also love the art of building a business.”

Umang Gupta fell in love with British American Ruth in the US. They married in 1980 and had three children. Despite the intense nature of his work, Gupta made certain that he was always home for dinner.

Their daughter lives in the Bay Area and younger son in Anaheim. They lost son Raji, their middle child in 1987, within three years of his birth. In his memory, the couple contributed significant funds to PARCA, an organisation for people with developmental disabilities, and created ‘Raji House’, a respite home for children and teens with disabilities. They also sent in donations to the Silicon Valley-based Computer History Museum, and to the Immigrants Gallery at the San Mateo County History Museum.



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