From starting his entrepreneurial journey right from the scratch to marrying one of the most successful Bollywood beauties – Raj Kundra has had an interesting journey so far. However, success didn’t come easy to this multi-millionaire.
Born to an Indian migrant family in London, Raj Kundra had humble beginnings. His father, Bal Krishan Kundra, worked as a bus conductor before starting a small business, while his mother, Usha Rani Kundra, worked as a shop assistant.
In his late teenage years, upon being asked by his father to start thinking seriously about his career, Raj visited Nepal. It was there that he found a way to kick-start his journey as an entrepreneur – the now famous Pashmina shawls.
In the 1990s, Raj decided to import Pashmina shawls by the container loads and supply them across all major fashion houses in London. The venture was a success – he made his first millions with the imports. There was no looking back for Raj Kundra after that.
Business opportunities in Russia, Ukraine, Antwerp and UAE propelled his business forward, as he continued venturing into various arenas through strategic investments. From mining to realty and renewable energy to hospitality – Raj Kundra became an omnipresent name. By 2004, Raj was named among the richest British Asians by Success, a leading UK magazine.
A known name in the international business circles, Raj Kundra catapulted to fame in India due to his romance with Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty. The two met after Shilpa won the British reality show Celebrity Big Brother in 2007. Love blossomed, and Raj had a fairy-tale wedding with the Bollywood beauty in November 2009.
Raj’s life partner soon became his business partner. Together they founded Viaan Industries, named after their son. Started with a vision to drive a lifestyle change in masses through technology offerings, the company has a strong and growing presence across several sectors such as entertainment, gaming, licensing and animation.
Raj Kundra is an ardent sports enthusiast, and his interest is evident from his various investments in the Indian sports industry. He, along with his wife, has been the co-owner of Rajasthan Royals – a popular cricket team in Indian Premier League (IPL).
Raj’s interest in sports is not just limited to cricket. He is often accredited for transforming the way Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is perceived in India. Along with Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, he launched India’s first professional MMA fighting league – the Super Fight League – in 2012. He also served as the Chairman of the All India Mixed Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA), and worked towards developing the sport at the grassroot level in India.
When it’s not his business or sports, Raj Kundra stays busy with social work. He works quite actively for his wife’s charitable organization – the Shilpa Shetty Foundation. He has also started a green initiative named ‘Verified Carbon Zero’, which aims at reducing the global carbon footprint year by year.
For their continued efforts at environmental conservation, Raj Kundra and his wife Shilpa Shetty received ‘Champions of Change Award 2019’ from former President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, at a special felicitation ceremony in New Delhi.