Sabeer Bhatia

Sabeer Bhatia (born 1968) is the co-founder of Hotmail and an entrepreneur.

Biography

Sabeer Bhatia was born in Chandigarh, India on 13th december 1968. His father, Baldev Bhatia, started as an officer in the Indian Army and later joined the Indian Ministry of Defence, while his mother, Daman Bhatia, was a senior official at the Central Bank of India. Bhatia was schooled at the St. Joseph’s Boys’ High School in Bangalore. In 1985, he began his undergraduate education at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) in Pilani and was transferred to Caltech after two years at BITS. After graduating from Caltech, Sabeer went to Stanford University in 1989 to pursue his M.S. in Electrical Engineering. At Stanford, he worked on Ultra Low Power VLSI Design.

At Stanford, he was inspired by entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs and Scott McNealy eventually deciding to become one himself. Instead of pursuing a Ph.D. after his Masters, he decided to join Apple in 1991.

Founder of Hotmail

After a brief stint at Apple, Sabeer joined a startup company called Firepower Systems Inc, where he spent two years. In 1994, Sabeer started working on new ideas for the Internet and he teamed up with Jack Smith, a colleague from Apple Computer, Inc.

The two came up with the concept of a web-based database entitled Javasoft. While pursuing this idea, they subsequently realised the potential of a web-based e-mail system and thus decided to create one called HoTMaiL (the uppercase letters spelling out HTML – the language used to write the base of a webpage).In order to attract attention, the e-mail service was provided for free and revenue was obtained through the advertising on the website. Draper Fisher Ventures invested $300,000 on the project and the service was launched on July 4, 1996.

In less than six months, the website attracted over 1 million subscribers. As the interest in the web-based email provider increased, Microsoft eventually took notice and on December 30, 1997, Hotmail was sold to Microsoft for a reported sum of $400 million.

Other ventures

After selling Hotmail, Bhatia worked at Microsoft for about a year and in April 1999, he left the company to start another website, Arzoo Inc, which was shut down when the dot-com bubble burst. In 2006, he relaunched Arzoo as a travel portal.

He started (alongside co-founders Shiraz Kanga and Viraf Zack) BlogEverywhere, a website attempting to capitalize on the emerging blogosphere.

In November of 2007, he released an online office alternative to Microsoft Office, called Live Documents. This application allows users to use their documents both offline and online, edit, collaborate and share documents in real-time with others, and sync documents between various computers and users. Users can also download their Microsoft Office plug-in, which allows them to get the best of offline and online offices suites, along with full compatibility for all office document formats.

He has also pushed for enabling access to the internet through cable television in Indian homes.

In January, 2008, Sabeer announced the launch of his latest venture SabSeBolo.com, a free web-based teleconferencing system (Sab Se Bolo = “(Let’s) Talk To Everyone” in Hindi).

Future plans of his include the development of a new city in India called Nanocity. The aim of Nanocity is to replicate the vibrancy and eco-system of innovation found in the Silicon Valley.

Personal

He got engaged to Tania Sharma, heiress of the Baidyanath group, in December 2007. They have known each other for eight years as friends. They plan to get married soon in a private ceremony in Langkawi, Malaysia.

Awards

  • Entrepreneur of the Year,” Awarded by the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (1997)
  • Named to the “Elite 100,” Upside magazine’s list of top trendsetters in the New Economy
  • Recipient of the “TR100” award, presented by MIT to 100 young innovators who are expected to have the greatest impact on technology in the next few years
  • Selected by the San Jose Mercury News and POV magazine as one of the ten most successful entrepreneurs of (1998)
  • Named by TIME as one of the “People to Watch” in International Business (2002)

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Naveed Rahmat

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