Manoj Bhargava is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder and CEO of 5-hour Energy. He was born in Lucknow, India and moved to the United States in 1967 at the age of 14. Crain’s Detroit Business awarded Bhargava its “Newsmaker of the Year 2011” award and he was named Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for 2012.
Bhargava attended high school at the Hill School in Pottstown, PA, graduating in 1972 before attending Princeton University. He dropped out after completing one year. After that he dedicated many years to a spiritual education in India and the United States.
Early in his life, Bhargava worked at a variety of jobs including construction laborer, construction cleaning contractor, accounting clerk, taxi driver, printing press operator and business manager. He started a plastics raw material company in 1990, Prime PVC Inc., now called Prime Conduit, which he grew to $20 million in sales and then sold to a private equity firm. After that he started a consumer products company, Living Essentials. In 2004, the company developed the product 5-Hour Energy, which has become a well-known brand in the energy drink market. Bhargava’s stake in Living Essentials is valued at over $3 billion.
Today his business start-ups include Living Essentials (maker of 5-Hour Energy), Senterra Water (desalination and water purification), ETC Capital (an investment company), Stage 2 Innovations (products for fuel efficiency that invests in Michigan tech), Microdose Life Sciences(medical devices) and US Rail (railroad and freight terminal operations).
Bhargava’s foundations include Knowledge Medical Charitable Trust and Rural India Charitable Trust. He has contractually pledged a billion dollar gift to the charities. The charities have funded medical research in the United States and over 400 charities in India. Two of the major initiatives are hospitals for the poor and education for disadvantaged women in rural areas.