Manoj Bhargava

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Manoj Bhargava
Born1953 (age 69–70)[1]
Lucknow, India
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationPrinceton University (dropped out)
Occupation(s)Entrepreneur, philanthropist
Known for5-hour Energy brand

Manoj Bhargava (born 1953) is an Indian American billionaire businessman and philanthropist. He is the founder and CEO of Innovations Ventures LLC (dba Living Essentials LLC), the company known for producing the 5-hour Energy drink.[2][3] By 2012, the brand had grown to do an estimated $1 billion in sales.[4] In 2015, Bhargava pledged 99% of his net worth to improving the well-being of the world's less fortunate.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Bhargava was born in Lucknow, India in 1953,[1][6] and in 1967, moved with his family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.[7][8] Bhargava's father attended the Wharton School of Business in pursuit of a doctorate degree.[1][6] Bhargava won a math scholarship to an "elite private academy" called The Hill School, and after high school graduation attended Princeton University for one year in 1972.[6][7][9]


After college, Bhargava returned to India and spent the next 12 years traveling to and from monasteries owned by the Hanslok Ashram.[7][8] During this period, Bhargava moved back and forth between the US and India and worked a variety of middle-class office and construction jobs.[10]

Bhargava returned to the US and joined his parents' plastic injection manufacturing company, Bhar Incorporated, located in New Haven, Indiana. In 1990 he purchased a company that produced parts for outdoor furniture.[9] He sold Prime PVC Inc. in 2006.[9][11] A subsequent company,, specialized in inventions and new ideas for business.[9]

Bhargava created Innovations Ventures LLC (dba Living Essentials LLC),[9] and launched 5-hour Energy in 2003.[1] By 2012, retail sales had grown to an estimated $1 billion.[1] Over time, Bhargava created additional entities or funds to support a variety of new ventures.[9] These included the capital venture company MicroDose Life Sciences,[12] a manufacturing venture laboratory called Stage 2 Innovations LLC,[13] a private equity fund called ETC Capital LLC, Plymouth Real Estate Holdings LLC[9][10] and Oakland Energy and Water Ventures.[14] In 2014, he financed a New York City-based film distribution company, Bleecker Street.[15]

Bhargava was interviewed on the ABC News show Nightline in September 2012.[16] That year, an article in Forbes magazine said Bhargava and his company, Innovations Ventures, had participated in up to 90 court cases[17] against competitors, suppliers[6] and associates[9] since 2003.[18] As of 2012, fourteen of those cases had been settled or dismissed.[18]

In 2013, Forbes reported Bhargava's net worth to be $1.5 billion, but he was dropped from its list of billionaires in 2014.[7] Bhargava's 2015 documentary, Billions in Change, reports he has a net worth of over $4 billion,[19] while some news articles report the $4 billion figure to be unverified.[13][20]

Bhargava is a member of the Giving Pledge campaign.[21] In 2015, he pledged to give 99% of his wealth to philanthropic causes.[19] His foundations include the Hans Foundation[1][22] and Rural India Supporting Trust.[23] In 2016, Bhargava told National Geographic that he planned to distribute 10,000 of his stationary, power-generating bikes to rural homes and villages in India.[13]

In January 2022, Bhargava purchased 90% of Freelancer Television Broadcasting, including television network NewsNet and television stations WMNN-LD and WXII-LD through his company MBX Wyoming Inc.[24][25]

In August 2023, Bharghava acquired a majority stake in Ross Levinsohn's The Arena Group, owner of several magazine brands.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Bhargava is married, with one child, and lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan, US.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Manoj Bhargava, richest Indian in US commits 90% earnings to charity". The Economic Times. 10 April 2012.
  2. ^ "Manoj Bhargava, Founder and CEO, Innovation Ventures LLC and Living Essentials LLC". Smart Business. 1 July 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  3. ^ Duggan, Daniel; Walsh, Dustin (29 May 2011). "Energy Drink King Behind $100m Fund: Bhargava Sets Up Tech Park For New Firms". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  4. ^ O'Connor, Clare (8 February 2012). "The Mystery Monk Making Billions With 5-Hour Energy". Forbes.
  5. ^ Ilan Mochari (15 October 2015). "Inside the Mind of the Billionaire Who Built the 5-Hour Energy Empire". Inc. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d Murphy, Eamon (9 February 2012). "5-Hour Energy: A Success Equal Parts Caffeine, Chemistry and Meditation". DailyFinance.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Profile". Forbes.
  8. ^ a b Staff writer (11 October 2015). "Dropout, Monk and billionaire". Sunday Times of India.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Duggan, Daniel (19 February 2012). "Wizard of odds". Crains Detroit.
  10. ^ a b "Newsmakers of the Year 2011". Crains Detroit Business. 1 January 2012.
  11. ^ Frank Esposito (4 June 2007). "Spell purchases Prime PVC". Plastics News.
  12. ^ Gormley, Brian (19 May 2010). "With Tempting Idea For Start-Ups, MicroDose Makes First Two Deals". Wall Street Journal.
  13. ^ a b c Koch, Wendy. "Creator of 5-hour Energy Wants to Power the World's Homes—With Bikes". No. Oct 6, 2015. National Geographic. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  14. ^ Tom Henderson (4 March 2014). "Bhargava Funds Company to Invest in Water, Energy Deals". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  15. ^ Cheney, Alexandra (13 August 2014). "Ex-Focus Features Chief Launches Distribution Company". Variety. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  16. ^ Johnson, Eric. "5-Hour Energy Inventor Likes 'Toiling in Obscurity'". ABC. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  17. ^ O'Connor, Clare (8 February 2012). "The Mystery Monk Making Billions With 5-Hour Energy". Forbes.
  18. ^ a b Ben Wieder (26 March 2015). "The political kingmaker nobody knows". Center for Public Integrity.
  19. ^ a b Ilan, Mochari (15 October 2015). "Inside the Mind of the Billionaire Who Built the 5-Hour Energy Empire". Inc Magazine. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  20. ^ Kumar, Bhaswar (22 October 2015). "Manoj Bhargava's crusade: From energy drinks to limitless energy". Business Standard. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  21. ^ "Current Pledgers". The Giving Pledge. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  22. ^ Saumya Bhattacharya (11 November 2014). "Philanthropists in the world not thinking through what people need: Manoj Bhargava". The Economic Times.
  23. ^ "Manoj Bhargava". Glasspockets. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  24. ^ "Assignee Parties Addendum". WXII-LD FCC Filing. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  25. ^ "MI News 26 Founder Starting National News Network". 23 January 2022. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  26. ^ Venta, Lance (14 August 2023). "5-Hour Energy Founder Expands Media Holdings Including Audacy & Cumulus Stakes - RadioInsight". Retrieved 15 August 2023.

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