Manoj Bhargava

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Manoj Bhargava
Manoj Bhargava, Founder, 5-hour ENERGY.jpg
Born 1953 (age 61–62)
Lucknow, India
Citizenship United States
Education Princeton University (one year)
Occupation Entrepreneur philanthropist
Known for Founder, 5-Hour Energy
Net worth USD $4 billion

Manoj Bhargava (born 1953) is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder and CEO of 5-hour Energy, the company which markets the energy shot.[1]  He was born in Lucknow, India and moved to the United States in 1967 at the age of 14.[2]  According to Forbes Magazine in 2012, Bhargava may be the wealthiest Indian in America.[3]  Crain's Detroit Business awarded Bhargava its "Newsmaker of the Year 2011" award.[4] and he was named Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year for 2012.[5] Bhargava was interviewed on the ABC News show, "Nightline," in September 2012.[6] Forbes Magazine reported his net worth near $4 billion (USD).[7]

Bhargava explained the origins of 5-hour Energy and his business philosophy during his keynote speech at TIECon 2013.[8]


Bhargava graduated from The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania in 1972. He went on to attend Princeton University for one year.[9] After that, he went back to India where he lived as a monk in the mountains for 12 years.[10]


Early in his life, Bhargava worked at a variety of jobs including construction labourer, construction cleaning contractor, accounting clerk, taxi driver,[11] printing press operator and business manager. He started a plastics raw material company in 1990, Prime PVC Inc., later called Prime Conduit,[12] 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,[13] the company developed the product "5-Hour Energy", which has become a well-known brand in the energy drink market.[14] Bhargava's stake in Living Essentials is valued at over $3 billion.

His business start-ups include Living Essentials (maker of 5-Hour Energy), Senterra Water (desalination and water purification), ETC Capital (an investment company), Oakland Energy & Water Ventures (an investment company), Stage 2 Innovations[15] (products for fuel efficiency that invests in Michigan tech),[16] Microdose Life Sciences (medical devices),[17][18] and US Rail (railroad and freight terminal operations).

5-Hour Energy[edit]

5-Hour Energy was introduced to the marketplace in 2004. Retail sales grew to over $1 billion by 2011. Forbes reports that the research firm Symphony IRI believes 5-Hour to hold 90% of the energy shot market. Bhargava's innovation was creating a blend of vitamins and amino acids that was safe and effective for those who felt tired. His other innovation included the 2 oz. packaging, pointing out that people who needed energy were not necessarily also thirsty enough for an 8-ounce drink. The smaller size packaging allowed retailers to place the product near check-out counters and at easy point-of-sale locations. The product contains functional nutrients, such as B vitamins and amino acids. Production and distribution are handled inside the company itself, in a million-square-foot facility located in Wabash, Indiana.[19]

The brand sponsors a NASCAR race car and is known for its unique advertising,[20] which garnered the "2010 Runner-up Worst Ad in America" for its ad campaign.

5-Hour Energy is a clinically tested dietary supplement, as confirmed in March 2011 by the Consumer Reports magazine. The magazine's reporter viewed a summary of the company's randomised, double-blind clinical trial, which demonstrated that 5-Hour Energy "significantly outperformed" a placebo in tests measuring attention and alertness. The Consumer Reports article concluded that "5-Hour Energy will probably chase away grogginess at least as well as a cup of coffee."[21]


Bhargava's foundations include Knowledge Medical Charitable Trust and Rural India Charitable Trust. The company technically donates forty-five percent of profits to charity;[22] the charity is named Rural India and was set up by Bhargava with David Lieberman, also Bhargava's attorney, as the principal officer. The donation came in the form of a 45% stake in the company, which was then sold to Nevada 5 for $623 million. According to an associate of Bhargava's and official Nevada State Incorporation Documents, Bhargava is president and director of Nevada 5. Of Rural India's $1 billion only $5.1 million have been donated.[23] The charities have funded medical research in the United States and over 400 charities in India.[24] Two of the major initiatives are hospitals for the poor and education for disadvantaged women in rural areas.[25]

The Hans Foundation, a charitable organisation, is solely supported by the Rural India Charitable Trust.[26]

In September 2012, Bhargava joined The Giving Pledge.


  1. ^ Duggan, Daniel; Dustin Walsh (30 May – 5 June 2011). "Energy Drink King Behind $100M Fund". Crain's Detroit Business 27 (22). 
  2. ^ Ajmani, Virender. "From Lucknow, India, to Farmington Hills, Michigan". webpage. Michigan Indian Community Blog. Retrieved 11 February 1012. 
  3. ^ O'Connor, Clare (27 February 2012). "The Mystery Monk Making Billions With 5-Hour Energy". Forbes Magazine. 
  4. ^ "Manoj Bhargava". Crain's Detroit Business. 
  5. ^ Kelly, Ryan. "5-Hour Energy creator Manoj Bhargava named overall winner of Entrepreneur of the Year". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Johnson, Eric. "5-Hour Energy Inventor Likes 'Toiling in Obscurity'". ABC. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  7. ^ Haiken, Melanie. "Can Energy Drinks Kill, Reprise?". Forbes Magazine. 
  8. ^ [1],
  9. ^ Duggan, Daniel. "Wizard of odds". Crains Detroit. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  10. ^ Forbes  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ "Newsmakers of the Year 2011". Crains Detroit Business. 
  12. ^ "Prime Conduit". 
  13. ^ Murphy, Eamon. "5-Hour Energy: A Success Equal Parts Caffeine, Chemistry and Meditation See full article from DailyFinance". webpage. Daily Finance (AOL Money and Finance Site). Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  14. ^ "Focus on Function: 5-Hour Energy maintains dominance in energy shots". Beverage Industry: 36–39. August 2011. 
  15. ^ Rechtin, Mark. "Manoj Bhargava partner, former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda named CEO of Fisker Automotive". Crain News Service. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  16. ^ Brennan, Mike. "Private fund has $100 million to invest in Michigan tech". THE CENTER FOR MICHIGAN. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  17. ^ Gormley, Brian. "With Tempting Idea For Start-Ups, MicroDose Makes First Two Deals". Blog (Wall Street Journal). Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
  18. ^ "Ex-Pfizer staff notch start-up hits with MicroDose Life Sciences". Concentrate: Issue Media Group. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  19. ^ Walsh, Tom. "Manoj Bhargava tells the story of the phenomenal growth of his 5-Hour Energy drink". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  20. ^ Silverstein, Barry. "5-Hour Energy: Powered up". webpage. Brand Channel. Retrieved 13 January 2010. 
  21. ^ "Can 5-Hour Energy kick your afternoon slump?". Consumer Reports: 16. March 2011. 
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Manoj Bhargava, richest Indian in US commits 90% earnings to charity". The Economic Times. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  25. ^ O'Connor, Clare. "The Mystery Monk Making Billions With 5-Hour Energy". Forbes. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  26. ^ "The Hans Foundation". Retrieved 23 February 2012. 

External links[edit]