Arjun Malhotra earned electronics degree from IIT Kharagpur in 1970. He then joined Delhi Cloth Mills as a management trainee in New Delhi. After several years with the company, he, like many other DCM employees, left in search of another job. Arjun Malhotra and his colleague Shiv Nadar were assigned to establish a marketing division for DCM Data Products in 1972. This unit was earning big profits for the parent company through its sale of pocket calculators. But the primary textiles division of DCM was suffering heavy losses, and the corporation's top officials curtailed all salary raises and employee promotions all across the corporation. The employees at DCM Data Products were quite unhappy with this company policy.
In mid-1975, Arjun Malhotra and Nadar, and several of their co-workers resigned, and pooled their resources to found their own company, Microcomp Limited. The development had a starting capital of only $4,250, raised mainly from personal savings and loans from friends and family members of the six co-founders. The new company's primary goal was to get into the computer business, but first they required enough of capital. So Microcomp marketed pocket calculators for another company, a task in which they had former experience. Gradually, Microcomp started manufacturing and marketing its own calculators. Within a year, Microcomp overtook DCM Data Products in the sale of pocket calculators, an achievement that gave the young entrepreneurs considerable satisfaction. Microcomp experienced the advantages of low overheads, lower prices, and flexibility in its decision-making. As is often the case in a high-technology industry, a smaller firm can fill a market niche more efficiently than a giant corporation.
In 1976, Microcomp recruited a talented group of MBAs from the IIMs and engineers from the premier engineering institutes in India in order to develop its own microcomputer. With time Microcomp secured a license to manufacture its microcomputer in association with the Uttar Pradesh Electronics Corporation, a state corporation. The new company, called Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL), was founded in 1976. The main strength of HCL was aggressive marketing and pricing, coupled with high-profile advertising. HCL has been India's prominent company in sales in information technology products, including computers, photocopiers, electronic typewriters, fax machines, and telecommunications equipment.
An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, Arjun Malhotra founded TechSpan in 1998. TechSpan merged with the company named HeadStrong in 2003. Currently, Arjun Malhotra is the CEO of Headstrong, a US based IT consulting company. He is also on the board of IIT, ISB, and many other educational and social organisations.
Arjun Malhotra perhaps has been the most popular public face of HCL. Much of HCL's initial success was owed to Arjun Malhotra. His brilliance in sales and marketing, management in addition to his exemplary leadership skills, helped his company to reach the ultimate mark of success. It is also said that, Arjun Malhotra was the person who had to capability to turn around dead projects. The setting up of HCL's famed CAD/CAM division which had a tie-up with Apollo Computers and later with HP, the excelling performance of the failed HCL America, were the handiwork of Arjun Malhotra. Currently, Arjun Malhotra travels between Golf Links, New Delhi, and in Saratoga, California and remains busy in cross-continental entrepreneurship.