Raj Kundra, From Pashmina Trader to a Business Tycoon

Raj Kundra had many successes and made a fortune for himself, he rose from a Pashmina trader to an international entrepreneur

At 18 he was a college dropout; he started his business career as a Pashmina shawl trader in the UK. Kundra today has stakes in more than 20 companies operating in trading, construction, real estate, energy, steel, shares, media, sports, cricket league, fighting league and gold trading.

Raj Kundra has achieved tremendous business success in his life despite coming from a small, middle class family. There are business and entrepreneurship lessons to be learned from his life.

Who is Raj Kundra?

Raj Kundra is popular in India as a British-Indian Businessman who moved to his home country India after his wedding with veteran Hindi artiste Shilpa Shetty. He is also well known for his brief but controversial IPL stint when he owned the Rajasthan Royals cricket team. But who is he really, and how did he land himself in the league of rich, Indian businessmen? Hailing from a middle-class family and humble beginnings, Raj Kundra’s entrepreneurial journey commenced when he ran a successful business supplying Pashmina Shawls in Nepal. This was his first grand success which established him as a key player in business and also earned him his first few millions. Kundra was awarded the Champions of Change Award in 2019, for his involvement with Swachh Bharat Mission. The award was conferred by former President of India Pranab Mukherjee at Vigyan Bhavan New Delhi on 20 January 2020. In 2004, he was ranked as the 198th richest British Asian by SUCCESS magazine.

Kundra was less known before he met Indian actress Shilpa Shetty who shot to global fame by winning the British reality show Big Brother in 2007. Two years later they were married, Kundra and Shetty then set sail for Mumbai. This is where Kundra planned to become a film producer and Shetty dabbled in Bollywood once more and tried her hands in fitness, yoga and spa businesses.


During his tenure as a Pashmina trader, Raj Kundra had a clear understanding of the market demand for handcrafted ethnic goods among fashion retailers in Britain.

Lessons from Raj Kundra’s Business Success

The key lesson which start-up founders and entrepreneurs can learn from him is to start small in business. If we take a look at where he started, the trading of artisanal commodities from the far east (Nepal) to his eventual entry into the glamorous world of Hindi Cinema and Sports Entertainment, it’s clear that Raj Kundra had big ambitions, but he took small steps to get there. During his tenure as a Pashmina trader, Raj Kundra had a clear understanding of the market demand for handcrafted ethnic goods among fashion retailers in Britain.

5 Learnings from Raj Kundra’s Life

A good number of business successes

Raj Kundra started his business journey early on when he dropped out from college. His flagship business was a huge success, after which he quickly reinvested his profits in other businesses all of which grew his wealth considerably.

Diverse portfolio of investments

Raj Kundra quickly invested in a number of profitable businesses and built a diverse portfolio of investments. He purchased stakes in 10 companies in quick succession from a variety of industry sectors like trading, construction, real estate, energy, steel, shares, sports and gold trading.

Targeting lucrative business ventures

Kundra always had his sights set for the most lucrative business ventures that would fetch him large profits. His interest towards the diamond business in Dubai and subsequently towards Bollywood movie making were all well-timed and strategic.

Big Break

Raj Kundra took up co-ownership of the IPL Team Rajasthan Royals when sports media was at its peak in India and made big bucks through the team’s first big win in its pilot edition. This success catapulted Kundra into fame, success, and into the glitz and glamour world of films and media.

Attractive media image

Raj Kundra had an attractive media image built around his personal life and marriage which were no doubt beneficial for his success. The fact that he was the husband of a well-known actress in Bollywood and his media appearances worked well for his persona as a rich Indian businessman.

Raj Kundra’s success mantra

Raj Kundra’s success mantra has been ‘Live life on your terms’ something which he has consistently stood by when he left his middle-class identity to break into the upper echelons of success and power. Also, he has acted on his own interests while choosing businesses to invest in.

Businesses he mastered

Raj Kundra mastered the celebrity business. He used his connections with well-known personalities right from the start when he sold pashmina shawls to London fashion houses. Throughout his career, he showed strong inclination towards businesses centred around celebrities.

What’s in it for me?

As of 2021, Raj Kundra’s net worth is estimated to be around INR 2900 Cr. He has been an attractive figure in the world of British-Asian business personalities. Raj Kundra has earned considerable revenue which is exemplary for aspiring entrepreneurs and budding founders. His early life story is a lesson in entrepreneurship for start-up owners because he made a fortune through hard work and innovation. He smartly invested his earnings from his many business ventures into movie production which turned out to be very profitable. A simple idea for the market demand of authentic handlooms among the high and mighty of the fashion industry in London practically transformed his career and his life. This is the biggest takeaway from Raj Kundra’s life for start-ups on how everything rides on a single big idea.

DU Desk
DU Desk
Stories from DU Desk are the collective efforts of our in-house authors, guest authors and subject matter experts who collate and distill their ideas and thoughts to bring out actionable insights for our readers.



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