Indian American software pioneer dies


India West Staff Reporter

SAN MATEO, Calif. — Umang Gupta, who wrote Oracle Corporation’s first business plan, founded and led Gupta Technologies, and was CEO of Keynote Systems, died peacefully April 19 at his home after a two-year battle against bladder cancer. He was 73 years old.

He was the first Oracle executive to leave and start his own company. Gupta Technologies created an SQL relational database system for personal computers and helped usher in the era of client-server computing. Gupta went public on Nasdaq in 1993. (Nasdaq GPTA), the first enterprise software company founded by an American Indian to be listed on an American stock exchange.

The company was a precursor to the boom of Silicon Valley tech companies led by Native American CEOs. He then invested in Keynote Systems, Inc, which tracked website performance. Keynote’s board soon asked Gupta to take over as CEO and in 1999 took that company public as well. Under his leadership, Keynote acquired a number of companies and expanded its offering. Umang Gupta remained CEO until 2013 when private equity firm Thoma Bravo bought the company for $395 million.

Vik Chaudhary, who worked with Gupta at Oracle, Gupta Technologies and Keynote and is now at Meta, says that over the two decades “what was consistent was Umang’s ability to see around corners before anyone else. .”

Gupta earned a degree in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur in 1971 and earned an MBA from Kent State University in OH in 1973. IIT Kanpur recognized him as a Distinguished Alumnus in 1996 and in 2020, they conferred on him the rare honor of Fellow of the Institute. In 2002, Umang became the founding president of the IIT Kanpur Foundation in the United States, which raised funds for his alma mater. He also pledged $1 million to the IIT Kanpur Alumni Association. Subsequently, he became a leader in the movement to bring the alumni association of all IITs and served as Co-Chair and President for many years.

Arjun Malhotra, co-founder of Hindustan Computer Ltd and alumnus of IIT Kharagpur recalls his time working with Umang in the PAN IIT Alumni movement. “Umang was the person responsible for drafting the ‘constitution’ of the Global Alumni Association of PAN IIT and extending it to chapters of the Association in countries around the world.”

Gunjan Bagla, CEO of Amritt Inc, was chairman of Pan IIT USA when Umang was chairman. “A lot of our past leaders were hard-to-load C-level types and our discussions were often heated and divergent. But Umang had the uncanny diplomatic talent of listening carefully to everyone, then gently proposing ways that would be accepted by the vast majority.

Gupta is survived by his wife Ruth (Pike) Gupta, a British immigrant whom he married in 1980. They had three children: daughter Dr. Anjali Clare Gupta born in 1982 and Bay Area resident son Raji Gupta born in 1984 died in 1987 and son Kashi Gupta, born in 1988, resident of Anaheim, CA.

Umang and Ruth made significant donations in Raji’s memory to Partners & Advocates for Remarkable Children & Adults and established Raji House in his memory. They also made significant donations to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, and the Immigrants Gallery at the San Mateo County History Museum.

After leaving Keynote Systems, Gupta focused exclusively on educational software through personal investments and through his own efforts creating Reading Racer, a free smartphone app with built-in voice recognition that helps children learn to read. An online celebration of his life is scheduled for May 12 at 6:30 p.m. PST


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