Umang Gupta, Who Paved Way for Indian Tech Executives, Dies at 73


Unlike most other companies of the era, he chose to run the software online and sell it as a subscription service, a business model that now dominates enterprise computing.

“He was ahead of his time in thinking about where things are going and what’s going to happen next,” said Mohan Gyani, a longtime Keynote board member and friend.

Mr. Gupta took Keynote public in September 1999. In early 2000, he raised $350 million more in a secondary offering, which helped Keynote ride out the tech bust that soon followed.

In 2013, he sold Keynote for $395 million to the private equity firm Thoma Bravo and retired from business software. But he kept a high profile as a philanthropist and by working with a group that represented alumni of the Indian Institutes of Technology (he had attended the campus in Kanpur), said Kanwal Rekhi, a veteran Silicon Valley tech executive and investor who served on the board of Gupta Technologies.

Members of the I.I.T. group included figures from industry, academia and the investment community who could often strongly disagree with one another on a range of topics, said Gunjan Bagla, the chief executive of the consultancy Amritt, who helped lead the group with Mr. Gupta.

“Umang was an exceptional leader who could bring a group from chaos to calmness,” he said.

Umang Gupta was born on Aug. 3, 1949, in Patiala, in the northern Indian state of Punjab, to Ved Prakash Gupta, who worked at India’s labor ministry, and Ramnika Gupta, a politician. Umang’s parents were socialists from different castes who met at the funeral of Mohandas Gandhi, a departure from a traditional arranged marriage.

The couple later separated, and Umang was raised with the help of grandparents.

He spent four years at a military boarding school and was expected to join the National Defense Academy, a tradition in his mother’s family. Instead, he chose I.I.T. Kanpur, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1971. The campus had some of the first IBM computers in India, and Mr. Gupta gained programming skills there as well.


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