This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of India’s Richest 2021. See the full list here.
The country’s rising stock market appears to have stoked maverick investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala’s appetite for risk. His latest bet is on a sector ravaged by Covid-19: In July, Jhunjhunwala unveiled plans to invest $35 million for a 40% stake in Akasa, a proposed ultra-low-cost airline. Known as India’s Warren Buffett, Jhunjhunwala, 61, who began investing in 1985 with a mere $100, saw his net worth more than double to $5.5 billion.
Jhunjhunwala trades on his own account through his firm Rare Enterprises—a name coined from the first two letters of his name and that of his wife Rekha—and acquired his legendary Midas touch by picking winning stocks such as watch-and-jewelry maker Titan Company. But he’s recently begun reaping a windfall from his private equity investments.
For example, Jhunjhunwala’s 11% stake in Nazara Technologies, a Mumbai-based mobile gaming company, which he acquired in December 2017 for 1.8 billion rupees ($25 million), is now worth close to $100 million after its March IPO.
Up next are popular footwear retailer Metro Brands and health insurer Star Health & Allied Insurance, which are both awaiting regulatory approvals for their respective IPOs. “Backing unlisted companies has helped me understand the processes and challenges of growing businesses,” says Jhunjhunwala.