The Billionaire Monk

According to Forbes 2012 rich list Indian-born entrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder and CEO of 5-hour Energy, Manoj Bhargava may be the wealthiest Indian in America with a net worth of  $ 1.3 billion as of March 2012.

Bhargava is a Princeton University dropout. He has had a handful of careers, he worked at a variety of jobs including construction laborer, construction cleaning contractor, accounting clerk, cab driver, plastics executive. He even spent 12 years living in a Delhi ashram as a monk. He doesn’t believe in formal education and was virtually unknown till about a month ago.

Bhargava has struck it rich with 5-Hour Energy, a two-ounce elixir of caffeine, B vitamins and taurine that sells for $3 a bottle. 5-Hour Energy is a clinically tested dietary supplement, as confirmed in March 2011 by the Consumer Reports magazine. The magazine’s reporter viewed a summary of the company’s randomized, double-blind clinical trial, which demonstrated that 5-Hour Energy “significantly outperformed” a placebo in tests measuring attention and alertness. The Consumer Reports article concluded that 5-Hour Energy will chase away grogginess at least as well as a cup of coffee.

A philanthropist, Bhargava’s foundations include Knowledge Medical Charitable Trust and Rural India Charitable Trust. He has contractually pledged a billion dollar gift to the charities. His charities have funded medical research in the United States and over 400 charities in India. Two of the major initiatives are hospitals for the poor and education for disadvantaged women in rural areas. The Hans Foundation, a charitable organization, is solely supported by Rural India.

Categories: Miscellaneous & Offbeat

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