Meet Robin Raina: Ebix boss who dons many a hat

By Moneycontrol News

Moneycontrol News

Clad in a red shirt and pair of blue denims, he lies on lush green grass flanked by a dozen odd children. Their heads leaning against his body, smiles on their faces. This cover photo of his Twitter account, portrays that time stops, but not many would have an inkling that he is a billionaire for whom time is money.

Meet 51-year old Robin Raina, the CEO of Ebix, who dons multiple hats. A business tycoon, philanthropist, socialite and a fitness enthusiast, Raina never shies away from speaking his mind.

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Raina, also the chairman of the Atlanta-headquartered software services firm caused a stir by announcing a proposal to acquire Nasdaq-listed online travel agency Yatra.com for $336 million.

If this deal goes through, it will help $2-billion Ebix create an end-to-end enterprise financial and insurance service player. While Yatra has confirmed that its board is reviewing the proposal, it has also asked its stakeholders not to take "any action" at this time.

Many see the offer as an unsolicited bid. Perhaps due to Ebix’s sharply-worded statement that it would reduce the offer if it did not receive "a positive engagement response from the Yatra Online Board in a timely manner". Yatra has been given a week's time to open its books for the due diligence.

Industry insiders believe that the money on the table for Yatra is too lucrative given its current position. And those who know Raina say that he has the wherewithal to close this deal. People who have worked with him call him highly motivated and somebody who takes a lot of business decisions on his own.

A Kashmiri Hindu, Raina did most of his schooling in Patiala. He wanted to become a doctor but his dreams were quashed as Operation Blue Star disrupted medical entrance examinations in Punjab.

He pursued industrial engineering from Thapar University in Punjab and and joined a company called Pertech Computers. The company entered into a joint venture with Dell later. In 1993, he joined Mindware and moved to Singapore. He switched a couple of jobs more before joining Ebix (then known as Delphi Information Systems) in 2000 as Vice President.

He is known to have led Ebix's growth for 19 years. The company claims to have invested half a billion dollar in India in 2017-2018 alone.

Last month, Ebix acquired an 80 percent in stake in SaaS-based on-demand travel technology solution provider Zillious. In November, it had acquired Bangalore-based travel firm Via.com. Before that it had acquired digital payments firm ItzCash in a $120 million deal.

But deals are not the only forte of this business tycoon.

On the charity front, he has been extensively working to support the education of underprivileged children and housing for homeless in India. According to the webpage of Robin Raina Foundation, he has built and handed over 1800 free homes to slum dwellers in Delhi. The aim is to construct and offer 6,000 houses to the homeless going forward.

Raina has also produced a documentary called Dilli which portrays the lives of Delhi’s slum dwellers. The won at least 23 domestic and international awards at Jaipur, London and Italy film festivals.

A social media buff, Raina regularly writes about charity and has 1.5 million followers on Facebook. "I want to make charity look cool," he is quoted as saying by many publications. If his social media videos and posts were to be made the testament, he has managed to do that to a large extent.