VK Mathews, who was living in the lap of luxury in Dubai, abandoned his ‘dream job’ to start a tiny IT firm in India.

Apax Funds is going to purchase Blackstone’s minority share of 32% in VK Mathews’ aviation sector behemoth IBS Software for $450 million. Over 25 years ago, the entrepreneur abandoned a ‘dream career’ replete with the wealth that Dubai has to offer to start a tiny IT firm in India.

Valayil Korath Mathews has an unusual professional path. He was born in the Kerala town of Kizhakkambalam, the son of one of Federal Bank’s founding managers. Mathews studied Aeronautical Engineering at the famed Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur after completing his education and graduating in his home state of Kerala. 

In 1980, he began his career as a computer science teacher at the Indian Army’s military college. Mathews quickly realized that teaching was not for him and went to work for Air India as a systems analyst. He then joined Dubai’s Emirates Airlines in 1983, where he progressed through the ranks over the course of a decade to become the company’s youngest IT director at the age of 39.

Mathews, who is only 40 years old, lives and works in the wealthy paradise of Dubai. He, his wife Latha, and their two children lived in a magnificent villa. His corporation covered major costs such as his children’s schooling. In his top position, Mathews could select between expensive vehicles such as Mercedes, Lincoln, and BMW. While many would have stayed, Mathews opted to forego all of his good fortunes and risk his life. 

In 1997, he returned to India and created IBS software in Technopark, Kerala’s first IT cluster. What began as a modest startup with 55 engineers blossomed into a pioneer that changed the way airlines fly consumers. IBS is not only the leading aviation service provider today, but it also administers London’s iconic Heathrow Airport. Many airlines, dozens of hotel chains, and big oil businesses employ its solutions. Mathews defines success as “our journey from one failure to another without losing our zest.”

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