Manoj Bhargava

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Manoj Bhargava
Manoj Bhargava, Founder, 5-hour ENERGY.jpg
Born 1952 (age 62–63)
Lucknow, India
Citizenship United States
Education Princeton University (one year)
Occupation Entrepreneur philanthropist
Known for 5-Hour Energy brand
Net worth USD $1.5 billion (2013)[1]

Manoj Bhargava is an Indian American businessman and philanthropist. Bhargava was born in India and migrated to the US at the age of 14. As a young adult he moved several times between the two countries.

In the early 1990s he settled in American and led his family’s plastic company to increased success before selling it to a venture capital company. During this time Bhargava created several additional companies including Living Essentials which produced the 5-Hour Energy brand. In 2015 the 5-Hour Energy product created more than $1 billion in sales and Bhargava has pledged 99% of his net worth to improve the well-being of the less fortunate.

Bhargava’s donations to political organizations have been scrutinized and his 5-Hour Energy product has been accused of using questionable marketing techniques and having potential health risks.

Early life and education[edit]

Bhargava "grew up" in Lucknow, India[2] and moved to Philadelphia, PA, in 1967 at the age of 14.[1][3] He was considered a "math whiz" and received a scholarship to attend a private boarding school called The Hill School.[2] In 1972 he attended Princeton University for one year.[1][4]


After college, Bhargava returned to India and spent the next 12 years traveling to and from a group of communal like monasteries owned by the Hanslok Ashram.[3][1] During this period Bhargava moved back and forth between the US and India and worked a variety of middle class office and construction jobs.[5]

Bhargava returned to the United States in the early 1990s and began running his family’s plastics company, Prime PVC Inc. in 1996.[2] Later, he renamed the company Prime Conduit, grew its sales to $20 million, and sold it in 2007.[6]

During this period Bhargava created several companies including Senterra Water (desalination and water purification), ETC Capital (investing), Oakland Energy & Water Ventures (investing), Stage 2 Innovations (fuel efficiency)[7][8] MicroDose Life Sciences (medical devices),[9][10] and US Rail (railroad freight).[citation needed] One of his companies, Living Essentials,[11] launched a product called "5-Hour Energy" in 2004.[12][13] By 2011, retail sales had grown to over $1 billion.[14]

In 2013, Forbes reported Bhargava's net worth to be $1.5 billion.[1] According to Bhargava's 2015 documentary film, Billions in Change, he has a net worth of over $4 billion. However, articles in National Geographic and Business Standard reported that figure to be unverified.[15] [16][17]

In 2015, Bhargava said he was dedicated to spending 99% of his wealth on projects that benefited populations in the lower half of the world's income range.[16] His foundations include Knowledge Medical Charitable Trust and Rural India Charitable Trust.[18][19][20][21]


Bhargava was interviewed on the ABC News show Nightline in September 2012. [22]

A 2014 the New York Times reported on 5-hour Energy's significant lobbying influence on the election of the state's attorney general.[23] In 2015 the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) called Bhargava the "political kingmaker nobody knows."[2] The CPI reported that according to public filings "several of his [Bhargava's] Michigan-based companies had given at least $5.3 million to help elect state-level candidates since 2009".[2]

A 2015 article by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) reported that the attorney general offices in five US states had filed cases against Bhargava’s 5-Hour Energy company for "deceptive marketing practices" and that additional class-action lawsuits were pending in seven states.[2] Meanwhile Forbes reported that the FDA was investigating allegations that Bhargava's 5-Hour Energy product has been "potentially linked" to the deaths of 20 of its consumers.[2][1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Profile". Forbes. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Ben Wieder (March 26, 2015). "The political kingmaker nobody knows". Center for Public Integrity. 
  3. ^ a b Staff writer (Oct 11, 2015). "Dropout, Monk and billionaire". Sunday Times of India. 
  4. ^ Duggan, Daniel (19 February 2012). "Wizard of odds". Crains Detroit. 
  5. ^ "Newsmakers of the Year 2011". Crains Detroit Business. January 1, 2012. 
  6. ^ Frank Esposito (June 4, 2007). "Spell purchases Prime PVC". Plastics News. 
  7. ^ Rechtin, Mark. "Manoj Bhargava partner, former Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda named CEO of Fisker Automotive". Crain News Service. Retrieved 28 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Brennan, Mike (15 June 2011). "Private fund has $100 million to invest in Michigan tech". The Center for Michigan. 
  9. ^ Gormley, Brian (May 19, 2010). "With Tempting Idea For Start-Ups, MicroDose Makes First Two Deals". Wall Street Journal. 
  10. ^ "Ex-Pfizer staff notch start-up hits with MicroDose Life Sciences". Concentrate: Issue Media Group. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "Prime Conduit". 
  12. ^ Murphy, Eamon (9 February 2012). "5-Hour Energy: A Success Equal Parts Caffeine, Chemistry and Meditation". DailyFinance. 
  13. ^ Jennifer Zegler (August 1, 2011). "Focus on Function: 5-Hour Energy maintains dominance in energy shots". Beverage Industry. pp. 36–39. 
  14. ^ Walsh, Tom. "Manoj Bhargava tells the story of the phenomenal growth of his 5-Hour Energy drink". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  15. ^ Koch, Wendy. "Creator of 5-hour Energy Wants to Power the World's Homes—With Bikes" (Oct 6, 2015). National Geographic. Retrieved Nov 22, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b Ilan, Mochari (Oct 15, 2015). "Inside the Mind of the Billionaire Who Built the 5-Hour Energy Empire". Inc Magazine. Retrieved Nov 22, 2015. 
  17. ^ Kumar, Bhaswar (Oct 22, 2015). "Manoj Bhargava's crusade: From energy drinks to limitless energy". Business Standard. Retrieved Nov 22, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Manoj Bhargava, richest Indian in US commits 90% earnings to charity". The Economic Times. 10 April 2012. 
  19. ^ O'Connor, Clare (February 8, 2012). "The Mystery Monk Making Billions With 5-Hour Energy". Forbes. 
  20. ^ Saumya Bhattacharya (November 11, 2014). "Philanthropists in the world not thinking through what people need: Manoj Bhargava". The Economic Times. 
  21. ^ "Manoj Bhargava". Glasspockets. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  22. ^ Johnson, Eric. "5-Hour Energy Inventor Likes 'Toiling in Obscurity'". ABC. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  23. ^ Eric Lipton (October 28, 2014). "Lobbyists, Bearing Gifts, Pursue Attorneys General". New York Times. 

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