Serial entrepreneur Divyank Turakhia recently sold his seventh business, Media.net, to a Chinese Consortium for $900 million, officially earning him a spot in the elite “3-comma” club.
Known for staying far from the spotlight, the 34-year-old Indian’s meteoric rise is the stuff of legend. Credited for having created one of the most important companies in the domain industry, Turakhia has been one of India’s most low-profile success stories in tech.
Born in Mumbai, Turakhia started programming at the age of nine and ran a free dial-up BBS (bulletin board system) in the pre-internet days.
He then began his tech career at 14 by providing advice to large companies on how to use the internet for their businesses. In 1998, as a 16-year-old high school student, he co-founded the Directi Group with his 18-year-old brother Bhavin Turakhia, using a $500 loan from their parents.
In an interview with DNJournal, he credited the closeness of their family for guiding him on the right direction. He mentioned of his close relationship with his brother, his first business partner, father, who was an accountant with his own business and his mother, who is a law school graduate.
The success of their first business venture gave him his first million when he was 18 and first $100 million at 23. While his brother eventually ran Directi, Turakhia has been instrumental for its continuous growth, innovation and expansion.
He has built the corporate infrastructure with the capacity to contain Directi’s rapid growth, and has forged strategic partnerships for the company. He is also credited for founding all of Directi’s media businesses like Skenzo, BigJumbo, DomainAdvertising.com and MediaInvestments.com.
Today, Directi is valued at over $1.4 billion, with more than 1,000 employees and serving over 1,000,000 customers worldwide. The company has an impressive growth rate of 120% per annum.
Turakhia’s business acumen is the reason his companies are ranked among the Top 50 Fastest Growing Technology Companies in India and Top 500 Fastest Growing Companies in Asia by Deloitte & Touche for the past four years in a row.
Two years ago, Turakhia and his brother Bhavin sold four of their brands to Endurance International Group for $160 million.
Media.net, their most recent sale, was a contextual advertising play he aimed in 2014 to rival Google’s AdSense. Its products are currently licensed by top publishers, ad networks and other international ad-tech companies. The company, which operates in New York, Los Angeles, Dubai, Zurich, Mumbai and Bengaluru, currently has more than 800 employees.
After acquisition by the Chinese group led by Zhiyong Zhang, chairman of Beijing Miteno Communication Technology, a technology, media and telecom (TMT) business, the company will be integrated into Beijing-based Miteno.
Turakhia and its current management team will continue to operate Media.net and will keep the its core business model and culture. The company will now be looking into opportunities to grow in China, the world’s second largest ad-tech market.
“The acquisition will enable Media.net to be an even greater platform for innovation and investment on a global scale,” said Turakhia.
“Together, we can accelerate the company’s growth and deploy new products and services that will add value for our customers. Media.net’s leadership team and employees are excited to enter into this new phase of growth.”