Net worth: Rs 53.58
The latest passion for
this steel-to-telecom-to-many-other-things entrepreneur is
In the beginning, there was steel. Then there
was telecom. And now there is convergence. Vinay Rai of the New
Delhi-based Usha group has dabbled in various businesses in the last two
decades. And he's toyed with the idea of entering several others in recent
times, including a newspaper on the Net (he gave up the idea). His latest
passion is, of course, a word that belongs to the new economy –
convergence, or the coming together of infotech, telecom and
"We are the only group to have a
leg in all convergence areas. Everyone is eyeing convergence, but we are a
little ahead because we are a long-term player straddling all areas in
this sector," Rai says.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology
graduate, who is also a follower of Sathya Sai Baba, has every reason to
be enthusiastic about convergence. It has brought him global recognition.
Thanks to the Rs 2,000-crore market capitalisation of his infotech
company, Information Technologies India Ltd (ITIL), Rai was included in
the 11 Indians in Forbes list of 300 richest people in the
Ask Rai about it and he gives you a philosophical
reply. "All these things don't bother me. I have always believed in
destiny. There are thousand others who are more hard-working and who are
much more intelligent. But it is all God's will."
Rai cannot stop
talking about how he is going to build on its success. On the anvil is a
national Internet service provider (ISP), Indiai2i.com, which he says
should be up and about in another two-three months. The idea is to have
about 20 portals and vortals under Indiai2i.com with a focus on almost all
aspects that a Net user could be interested in. For this, Rai is pumping
in between Rs 70 and Rs 80 crore into the venture.
Recently in an
equity swap deal, the group acquired ISP services in eight cities (the six
metros, Lucknow and Kanpur). The idea is to cover 200 cities by the end of
the next year, he says.
Also on the anvil is an e-learning initiative.
Rai knows his strengths as far as convergence is concerned. The company
has significant experience in all the mobile platforms and wireless
The group has also forayed into steel
manufacture by launching two projects – Malvika Steel Ltd, a 0.85 million
tonne steel plant in Jagdishpur, UP, and Usha Ispat, a 0.6 million tonne
integrated steel plant at Redi, Maharashtra. Delays in the first venture
landed Rai in considerable controversy.
But he has sailed
through the stormy times. Malvika Steel is finally going to commence pig
iron production this year and construction steel will be rolled out from
next March. Similarly, Usha Ispat, which already produces pig iron, is
expected to commence production from December this year.
there a market for so much steel? Rai strongly believes there is. "Nothing
can be constructed without steel," he argues.
Incidentally, he was
not in the first lot that sallied forth into information technology. But
ITIL has established him as a leading presence in mobile services. And Rai
cannot stop talking about how he is going to build on its