D.V.S. Raju

Engineer , Billionaire and

M.D. of Visualsoft ( India ) Ltd

D V S Raju
Net worth: Rs 18.40 billion

After co-piloting Satyam for seven years, Raju was ready to strike out on his own by end 1995. The result was VisualSoft

In the software services business, most people prefer to focus on the less-risky services. But VisualSoft Technologies chairman and managing director D Venkata Satyanarayana Raju better known as DVS Raju chose product development as his point of entry. Today, the company boasts of about 90 products and components, developed for the global market. In 1999 Asiamoney placed VisualSoft among the best-managed companies in Asia.

With a masters degree in computer engineering from Ohio University, the 40-year-old, gardening-loving Raju co-founded Satyam Computer Services in 1985 and was made the company's managing director. He played a vital role in Satyam's early days of growth and was instrumental in establishing a sophisticated hi-tech development centre, with the first dedicated 64 kbps satellite link in the country.

However, the entrepreneurial bug had by then bitten him. He left Satyam in September 1992. For the next three years, before launching VisualSoft in December 1995, Raju played a consultant's role. This time, success embraced him through VisualShift, a Y2K tool set for PC-based applications that would go down well in the global market. The product won accolades from the technical community. It was named the '1999 Product of the Year' by Datamation, and rated as the best in its class by no less than the Gartner Group. The company earned about Rs 15 crore worth of business from the product.

The research & development group set up by him developed many innovative products and components. These include VisualSoft web project, a web-based project management tool, Visual e-Mart, an e-business innovation for online marketing and merchandising, Visual e-Shift, a euro currency conversion tool, and VisualSoft JB Pro, a set of Java Beans components for developing applications in the Java environment. VisualSoft is now among the world's top 10 in the Java Beans vendors list.

Raju has chosen to locate his development centre in the heart of Hyderabad city. He has set up a huge 1.2 lakh sq ft complex in the prime Begumpet area on an outlay of Rs 45 crore. The centre can accommodate over 1,000 professionals.

"Ours is a dynamic work environment and the employees work with flexible timings round the clock. We chose this area to be near a residential locality," says Raju. He has selected a unique business model harnessing the synergy of components, products and solutions. Product-related sales accounted for 49.11 per cent of VisualSoft's revenues and the company intends to continue this business model.

The company has grown from a turnover of Rs 29.9 crore in 1998-99 to Rs 70.23 crore last year and is now planning to open five product support centres in the US, Europe and Singapore.

Raju's net worth has also burgeoned, from Rs 547.71 crore in July 1999 to Rs 1,839.81 crore in July 2000. With about 400 software professionals on VisualSoft's rolls, Raju expects to achieve 100 per cent year-on-year growth for the next five years.