September 11, 2019,   2:41 PM

Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed Meets The Self-Made Billionaire Who Made His First Million at 18

Jamila Gandhi



Image source: WAM

On Tuesday, Vice President and Prime Minister of U.A.E. and Ruler of Dubai, High Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, met a resident Indian billionaire who sold an ad-tech company for $900 million or AED 3.3 billion.

Self-made billionaire Divyank Turakhia built and scaled three businesses over the past two decades, including - an advertising technology company. He founded in 2010 and grew the business to become one of the top three largest online advertising firms globally. In 2016, Turakhia sold the business in an all-cash deal for $900 million to a consortium of Chinese investors.

"Dubai has become the ‘Silicon Valley’ of the Middle East”, said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. "We are witnessing the prominent role of Dubai Internet City in creating new economies and nurturing global entrepreneurs."

The self-employment route was tried and tested at an early age for the Indian expat. At 9, the billionaire began programming. With his older brother Bhavin, the Turakhia siblings started doing tech consulting as teenagers from their shared bedroom in Mumbai in 1996 at the age of 14. In 1998, Turakhia co-founded a web hosting and domain registration business, with $600 borrowed from his father. In 2014, NASDAQ: EIGI purchased the hosting and domains businesses for $160 million.

As a serial entrepreneur, Divyank made his first $1 million at the age of 18, first $100 million at 23, and in 2016, crossed the one billion dollar mark at age 34. After stepping down as CEO of, the investor joined the Council for Artificial Intelligence to support Dubai’s vision to play a major role in AI on the global stage, upon request of the Dubai Future Foundation.

Turakhia ranked 11th in the Forbes Middle East 2019’s Top 100 Indian Leaders list and also held the title of the youngest Indian billionaire worldwide consecutively for 2016, 2017 and 2018.  

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