Sivakumar Jayabalan, the founder of a US-based medical group practice, Aiyan Diabetes Center, went to America with just USD 500, but his net worth is now nearly Rs 2,000 crore. Here is his amazing journey.
Sivakumar Jayabalan arrived in the United States for his postdoctoral fellowship at Georgia Medical College with only USD 500 in his pocket.
Today, at the age of 51, his net worth is believed to be USD 250 million, or around Rs 2000 crore. Sivakumar founded and runs Aiyan Diabetes Center in Augusta, Georgia. He also owns commercial buildings in Augusta and Royston, Georgia, valued USD 7.5 million, as well as holdings in medical businesses.
The Tamil scientist who earned his Ph. D in blood cancer from the prestigious Cancer Institute in Chennai and did research on kidney transplantation and autoimmune illnesses during his postdoctoral fellowship in the United States is now a full-fledged entrepreneur with lofty goals.
Sivakuma says he wants to own a bank in the United States. He also intends to build an international airline from the United States over the next three years.
Sivakumar explains, ” I aim to create direct flights from the United States to several Indian places, as well as regions and territory that were once part of the Tamil Chola Empire.”
The Cholas conquered sections of Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand during their apex.
“I’ve been studying the aviation sector for 7-8 years now,” says Sivakumar, who grew up in Tamil Nadu’s Neyveli Township, 56 kilometres from Pondicherry.
His father worked as a mechanical engineer at the Neyveli Thermal Power Station before moving to Libya to work at a power station. He later went to India, where he lived with his uncle R Balakrishnan Chithi Mangai in Tuticorin.
He went to Caldwell High School until Class 10 and then transferred to St. John’s School in Tirunelveli, where he finished Class 12.
Sivakumar intends to launch an international airline from the United States. He earned a gold medal from Madurai Kamaraj University after graduating from ‘The American College’ in Zoology.
In 1999, he received his Ph. D. and was selected for a postdoctoral position at Georgia Medical College’s Institute for Molecular Medicine and Genetics.
Sivakumar worked at a variety of enterprises in Chennai between 1994 and 1999 while pursuing his Ph.D. His father assisted him in raising finances to launch the firms.
Sivakumar says he worked in vehicle rentals, truck logistics, microfinance, pharmacies, and property ventures. Before departing for the United States, he passed over all of his enterprises to his family.
“My mother handed me a copy of the Bhagwat Gita at the Chennai airport as I was travelling for the first time to the United States in 1999,” Sivakumar recounts.
She told him to concentrate on his studies and strive for the Nobel Prize in Science.
“During his postdoctoral fellowship, Sivakumar was paid a stipend of USD 25,000 (roughly Rs 19 lakh) each year, which subsequently increased to $52,000 (nearly Rs 41 lakh).” .
In the United States, he acquired patents for his study and was published in Nature Immunology, one of the most prestigious Ivy League journals.
“I was granted a green card and permanent residency in the United States in the genius category with an EB-1A visa,” Sivakumar explains.
His fellowship came to an end in 2003. While working on his Ph.D., he enrolled in Augusta University’s MBA in Labor Relations programme.
“When you come in a foreign nation and wish to do business there, you must be familiar with the local labour rules,” says Sivakumar, who works as an investor and strategist at the clinic.
In 2005, he founded Aiyan Diabetes Center with his wife Janaki Nadarajah, a Canadian Tamil whom he married in Chennai in 2001. The couple acquired a property in Augusta, Georgia in 2003, refinanced it in 2005, and raised around USD 1 lakh (approximately Rs 88 lakh) for company investments. They established a BPO specialising in medical transcriptions and the Aiyan Diabetes Center, investing around USD 50,000 in each company.
The couple lost money in the BPO, but their diabetic business was a huge success. Aiyan Diabetes Center began with only two staff, in addition to the couple who had been involved in the enterprise since its commencement. While Janaki looks after the patients, Sivakumar works at the clinic as an investor and strategist.
He is in charge of recruiting and vendor management, as well as financial concerns and corporate strategy.
The early years were difficult for Sivakumar Jayabalan and his colleagues at Aiyan Diabetes Center, as well as his wife (extreme right).
“We provided diabetic sneakers to patients and raised diabetes awareness.”
The enterprises thrived, with the pair earning USD 1 million (about Rs. 8 crore) in 2008 and USD 2.5 million (nearly Rs. 20 crore) in 2012. They were operating from four locations at the time: Augusta, Athens, Royston, and Evans. They are presently just functioning in Augusta and have closed the other three facilities.
Sivakumar Jayabalan and his partners invested in hotels. He bought two hotels in Augusta, which he eventually profitably sold and invested in real estate.
The ‘Merritt Health Care Advisor Investment Banking Group’ in the United States evaluated the Aiyan Diabetes Center at USD 250 million (about Rs 2000 crore).
Sivakumar says, “We have already exceeded USD 9 million (about Rs 72 crore) this year and plan to exceed USD 20 million (approximately Rs 160 crore) by the end of the year.”