Why Billionaire Tech Leader Romesh Wadhwani Is Investing $1 Billion on AI's Future

By Jace Dela Cruz

Dec 09, 2023 01:29 AM EST

Billionaire tech leader Romesh Wadhwani, 75, has expressed a sense of falling behind in the rapidly evolving landscape of artificial intelligence (AI). 

Romesh Wadhwani on the Era of AI

According to CNBC, despite wishing for a younger age to navigate the transformative era of AI, Romesh Wadhwani, the chairman and founder of investment firm SAIGroup, has invested $1 billion of his fortune in predictive and generative AI technology.

Romesh Wadhwani
(Photo : Wadhwani Foundation)

Having signed the Gates Buffet Giving Pledge, the Indian-American tech entrepreneur is okay with giving away the majority of his wealth. However, his current focus is steering SAIGroup as a Gen AI-first company, overseeing a portfolio of three enterprise AI software technology companies.

From his headquarters at Stanford Research Park in Palo Alto, Wadhwani recalled the explosive phase of AI technology over his 53-year career journey, asserting that every aspect of jobs and consumer behavior has undergone massive transformations.

He cited AI as a concept in the 1970s, robotics in the 1980s, and up to the current era with massive data availability. He noted that each wave was historically followed by an "AI winter," but the current pace of AI has made it achieve things it has been unable to do in the past 50 years. 

"Gen AI is happening weekly. Every job, every consumer, every company will be massively transformed," he said in an interview with CNBC. 

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AI Ventures of Romesh Wadhwani 

Romesh Wadhwani's strategy with SAIGroup focuses on ventures where AI can provide maximum value rather than competing directly with tech giants like Facebook and Google. CNBC reported that Wadhwani launched a startup for "the most important verticals where AI can provide the most value."

The largest tech companies experienced stock market surges for embracing AI. Wadhwani's enterprise AI software business, SymphonyAI, launched in 2017, targets the retail industry, consumer packaged goods, financial services, manufacturing, media, and the public sector. 

He also added two health industry-specific AI companies, ConcertAI and RhythmX AI, to his businesses. ConcertAI, which aims to accelerate cancer research, has grown revenue by 35% to $160 million.

RhythmX AI, launched in October, aims to be a Gen AI-based platform for personalized patient care. Wadhwani, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, is reportedly keeping his eye on the long-range, ethical advancement of AI tech. 

The tech billionaire has already committed $5 million to create the Wadhwani Center for AI and Advanced Technologies at the Washington, DC-based research policy organization Center for Strategic and International Studies to help frame the right policies for AI governance to have "guard rails."

Coming from India, Wadhwani went to the US for a fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he got his Master's and PhD degrees in electrical engineering. 

His first business was reportedly the security and energy software firm Compuguard, which he launched in 1981. Eventually, he sold this $10 million business to Swiss electrical equipment maker Brown Boveri.

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