Jay Chaudhry, founder of cloud-based information security firm Zscaler, recently donated $1 million to his alma mater IIT BHU. The donation is directed towards funding the institute’s Entrepreneurship Centre and also to establish a Software Innovation Center to provide students with a platform to learn and innovate in software development, quantum computing, cyber security, IoT, and data analytics.
Chaudhry founded Zscaler in 2007 and its two most popular products Zscaler Private Access and Zscaler Internet Access help provide secure access to locally hosted apps and external apps. It had an initial public offering in 2018 where it raised $192 million; in 2020 it purchased cloud security management startup Cloudneeti. Today, the company is listed on NASDAQ and is worth $28 billion.
Incidentally, the 63-year-old Indian American billionaire grew up in Panoh, Himachal Pradesh, where as a child, he had no access to electricity and would study under the trees. In an interview with the Tribune, he said that he would walk as many as four kilometers to attend school in the neighbouring village. He moved to the US for his MBA from the University of Cincinnati before working with companies like IBM, Unisys and IQ Software for 25 years.
Following his donation to his alma mater, a faculty member will be appointed to oversee and manage the Software Innovation Centre. His funding will be directed towards a lecture series on software innovation and a software technology seed fund.