Kiran Majumdar Shaw: Founder & Chairperson of Biocon

Megha Rani Megha Rani
Apr 3, 2021 6 min read
Kiran Majumdar Shaw: Founder & Chairperson of Biocon

Kiran Majumdar Shaw is an Indian Entrepreneur and Philanthropist who founded a biotechnology company, Biocon Limited in Bangalore, India. She is the Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon. She received the Othmer Gold Medal for her exceptional contributions to the progress of science and chemistry. Financial Times named her in the business list of top 50 women. Forbes listed her as the 65th most powerful woman in the world. She was also named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020. She was ranked #2 in the Women Philanthropist list of 2019 by the Hurun Report India Philanthropy List 2019. As of the year 2020, she has an estimated net worth of $4.6 billion.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Biography

Name Kiran Majumdar
Born 23 March, 1953
Birthplace Pune, Maharashtra, India
Age 68 (2021)
Nationality Indian
Education Bangalore University; Federation University
Profession Entrepreneur
Position Founder & Chairperson, Biocon
Net worth $4.6 billion (2020)
Father Rasendra Mazumdar
Spouse John Shaw

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Personal Life
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Education
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Professional Life
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Board memberships
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Success story
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Challenges
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Founder of Biocon
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Subsidiaries

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Personal Life

Kiran Majumdar Shaw - She is The Founder of Biocon
Kiran Majumdar Shaw - She is The Founder of Biocon

Kiran was born to Gujarati parents in Pune, Maharashtra, India. Her father, Rasendra Mazumdar was the head brewmaster at United Breweries. She wanted to pursue her higher studies in the medical field but was not able to secure the scholarship. In 1974, she was the only girl pursuing brewery course and topped in her class.

She got married to John Shaw in 1998. Post her marriage, she is known as Kiran Majumdar Shaw. John Shaw is serving as the Vice Chairman of Biocon since 2001.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Education

Kiran completed her elementary studies from Bishop Cotton Girl's High School in Bangalore. She then took a pre-university course from an affiliate of Bangalore University, Mount Carmel College. She further graduated with a bachelor's degree in zoology from Bangalore University in 1973.

Her father then suggested to pursue fermentation science and get trained as a brewmaster, which is a very non-traditional field for women. She went to Ballarat College, Melbourne University in Australia to study malting and brewing. She earned her degree of master brewer in 1975.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Professional Life

Kiran started her professional career from Carlton and United Breweries, Melbourne, where she worked as a trainee brewer. She worked at Barrett Brothers and Burston, Australia, as a trainee maltster.

She joined Jupiter Breweries Limited, Calcutta as a technical consultant. Between 1975 and 1977, she worked as a technical manager at Standard Maltings Corporation, Baroda. While trying to advance her career in Bangalore, India, she was told that "it is a man's work" and thus, she could not be hired as a master brewer. Thereafter, she started looking for opportunities outside India and was offered a position in Scotland.

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Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Board memberships

She is a member of the board of governors of the Indian School of Business and a term member of on the board of MIT, USA till 2023. She has been a former member of the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. She was the first woman to head the board of governors of the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB).

She is an independent director on the board of Infosys. She is a member of the General Body of Maharashtra State Innovation Society. She is also a member of the advisory board of the MIT Jameel Clinic.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Success story

Kiran met Leslie Auchincloss, who is the founder of Biocon Biochemicals Limited, of Cork, Ireland. The aforesaid company produces enzymes to be used in brewing, food-packaging, and textile industries. Auchincloss was desperately looking for an entrepreneur in India, who would help her in establishing an Indian subsidiary of Biocon.

Kiran agreed to undertake the offer on a condition that if she did not wish to continue post six months, she would be given the position of brewmaster. She started working as a trainee manager at Biocon Limited, Cork, Ireland to learn more of the business. Post the training period, she returned India to establish the business.

In 1989, Biocon Biochemicals of Ireland was acquired from Leslie Auchincloss by Unilever. The partnership with Unilever helped Biocon to establish best practices and quality systems across the world. Unilever then sold its chemical division including Biocon to Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). Her husband, John Shaw invested $2 million to purchase the shares of Biocon from ICI.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Challenges

She started with a seed capital of Rs.10,000. Inspite of being a joint venture, Indian laws restricted foreign ownership to only 30% of the company. Thus, 70% of the company belonged to Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.

She faced reliability challenges because of her youth, gender and untested business model. She was unable to secure funding for her company initially. She tried hard and finally got her first financial backing. She also struggled while recruiting people to work for her startup. She had to face technological changes with an eye to build a biotech business in India, which was then having a poor infrastructure.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Founder of Biocon

Biocon Logo

Kiran, owner of biocon, established the Indian subsidiary of Biocon Limited in 1978, in Bangalore. The company initially extracted enzymes like, papain and isinglass. Biocoin India started manufacturing and exporting enzymes to the U.S. and Europe within a year.

She further invigorated her company to manufacture industrial enzymes and it soon became a pharmaceutical company. The company also researched on the discovery of novel enzymes in 1984. Biocon became the first Indian biotech company to receive funding from from the U.S. for proprietary technologies.

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Kiran Mazumdar Shaw- Subsidiaries

Syngene Logo

She managed to establish two subsidiaries of Biocon including, Syngene in 1994 and Clinigene in 2000. Syngene provided a contractual basis early research and development support service while Clinigene focused on clinical research trials and the development of both generic and new medicines. Clinigene was later merged in Syngene and it has a current market cap of Rs.14,270.

She incorporated Biocon Biopharmaceuticals Private Limited (BBLP) in 1990 to manufacture and market a select range of biotherapeutics in a joint venture with the Cuban Center of Molecular Immunology.


Who is the founder of Biocon?

Kiran Majumdar Shaw is the founder of Biocon limited.

When was Biocon founded?


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Who is the husband of Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw?

John Shaw

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